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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


MAY 12, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


HUMAN TRAFFICKING INITIATIVE


FORMER BLUE SPRINGS MAN, WOMAN INDICTED

FOR SEX TRAFFICKING OF A CHILD


CHILD SOLD AS SEXUAL DOMINATRIX FOR

BOTH ONLINE, IN-PERSON SESSIONS


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a former Blue Springs, Mo., man and woman have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges related to the sex trafficking of the woman’s daughter.


            Todd B. Barkau, 35, of New York, previously of Blue Springs, was charged in a seven-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City on May 7, 2008. Barkau was arrested on Friday, May 9, 2008 and had his initial court appearance in the Western District of New York on Saturday, May 10, 2008.


            The federal indictment alleges that, from Jan. 1, 2000, to Feb. 20, 2005, Barkau participated in a venture to entice a minor to engage in commercial sex acts. Barkau is also charged with one count of selling a child for sexual exploitation, two counts of inducing a child who was in his custody and control to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the production of visual depictions, one count of advertising and publishing a notice of images that involve the sexual exploitation of a child, one count of the enticement of a child to engage in prohibited sexual conduct and one count of transferring obscene material to a minor.


            The victim’s mother, who is not being identified in this release in order to protect the victim’s identity, is also charged with participating in a venture to entice a minor to engage in commercial sex acts and with inducing a child who was in her custody and control to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the production of visual depictions.


            This indictment marks the first time nationwide that a parent of the victim has been charged with commercial sex trafficking of their own minor child in a human trafficking case. The victim’s mother was also arrested on Friday, May 9, 2008, and had her initial court appearance today in the Northern District of Texas. The indictment was unsealed and made public today, and both defendants will be transported to the Western District of Missouri at a later date.


            The charge against Barkau of selling a child for sexual exploitation carries the highest mandatory minimum penalty for first-time offenders of any federal statute -- a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years in federal prison without parole, up to a maximum sentence of life in federal prison without parole.


            Federal prosecutors have filed a detention motion that seeks to have Barkau and his co-defendant detained in federal custody without bond. A detention hearing in the Western District of Missouri has not yet been scheduled. The government’s motion alleges that the conduct charged in the indictment involved physical force that was used against the victim in the course of its commission. The motion contends that the BDSM (bondage, domination, sadism, masochism) sexual conduct in which Barkau engaged with the child victim and in which he forced her to engage with others, by its very nature, involves extensive force and violence.


            According to the government’s motion, Barkau, obtained control of the 12-year-old girl in 2000 and sexually groomed and trained her to become a BDSM sexual dominatrix. He allegedly did so by engaging in BDSM activities with her himself, forcing her to engage in sexual activities with other men while he watched, and using BDSM pornography over the Internet to teach her techniques and skills to use as a dominatrix.


            When the child was 14 years old, the motion alleges, Barkau created a business out of his home where he advertised the child over the Internet as the star 19-to-20-year-old BDSM dominatrix, “Mistress Alisha,” on a Web site that he created. For two years, Barkau allegedly had the child, as “Mistress Alisha,” sexually dominate men with BDSM performances during online video sessions and in-person sessions. This allegedly included sexual sessions which involved, among other things, bondage, beatings, burning, and genital mutilation.


            In committing the offenses, the government alleges, Barkau utilized the victim’s mother, who lived in Barkau’s residence with him and the child, to assist and encourage the child to serve as the child dominatrix for his illegal BDSM business. In exchange for her assistance, Barkau allegedly provided the victim’s mother with financial and other benefits that he obtained from the “Mistress Alisha” business.


            The federal indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require the co-defendants to forfeit to the government $80,000, which represents some of the proceeds that the defendants earned from the alleged offenses.


            Under federal statutes, if convicted of all charges, Barkau could be subject to mandatory minimum sentences, if run consecutively, of 80 years in federal prison without parole, up to life in federal prison without parole. Under federal statutes, if convicted of all charges, his co-defendant could be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison without parole, up to life in federal prison without parole.


            Wood cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia L. Cordes. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.



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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html