Two get prison for promoting prostitution
The men faced decades in prison if they had been convicted of human trafficking, but charges were reduced because the witnesses declined to cooperate
Jevante McCray and Isiah Martin faced decades behind bars if they had been convicted of the original charges filed against them, including multiple counts of promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor and human trafficking.
The prosecution, however, was stymied when witnesses declined to cooperate with investigators. That is a common challenge in these kinds of cases, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Matt Baldock said.
The victims often are runaways who are taught to distrust police and social workers. Pimps often groom the minors, buying them gifts and making them promises. The victims also often are threatened or assaulted if they resist.
McCray, 20, and Martin, 19, last month both pleaded guilty to first-degree promoting prostitution, a significantly reduced charge. McCray was sentenced last week to about 2 1/2 years in prison. His partner, who had prior criminal history, was sentenced to nearly 3 1/2 years behind bars.
The men were arrested after a 10-month investigation into allegations that they were exploiting at least five minors. They were accused of paying for motel rooms and Internet advertising so the girls could work as prostitutes.
Charges were filed in Pierce County Superior Court as part of a unified prosecution in three counties, including here in Snohomish County.
Everett police became involved in the investigation last year, when a patrol officer approached Martin outside the Sunrise Motel on Evergreen Way. The man was sitting in a parked car. Martin had an arrest warrant out of Pierce County for promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor.
The officer asked Martin what he was doing at the motel. He told the officer he was a "hustler" and the motel was his "spot," court papers said. Police arrested him on the warrant.
Martin had rented a room in the motel. Inside, officers found two girls, both 14. The girls told police they were there without permission from their parents or guardians. Both denied being prostitutes. They also tried to cover for the pimp.
Over several months, investigators across the region obtained text messages and records from Backpage.com, including dozens of advertisements, showing that McCray and Martin were pimping minors.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you need help
If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, call 425-258-9037. The 24-hour hotline will connect you with law enforcement and victim services.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of a sexual assault, call Providence Intervention Center for Assault and Abuse 24-hour crisis line 425-252-4800 or 800-656-4673.
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