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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


MATT J. WHITWORTH


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


SEPTEMBER 24, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


HUMAN TRAFFICKING INITIATIVE


FORMER BLUE SPRINGS MAN, WOMAN PLEAD GUILTY

TO SEX TRAFFICKING OF DAUGHTER


CHILD SOLD AS SEXUAL DOMINATRIX FOR

BOTH ONLINE, IN-PERSON SESSIONS


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Matt J. Whitworth, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a former Blue Springs, Mo., man and woman pleaded guilty in federal court today to the sex trafficking of the woman’s daughter.


            Todd B. Barkau, 37, of New York, and a co-defendant, both previously of Blue Springs, pleaded guilty in separate appearances before U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey to the charges contained in a Feb. 26, 2009, superseding indictment.


            This case marks the first time nationwide that the parent of a victim has been charged with commercial sex trafficking of her own minor child in a human trafficking case. The victim’s mother is not being identified in this release in order to protect the victim’s identity.

 

            Barkau, with the assistance of his co-defendant (who was living with him), obtained control of a 12-year-old girl in 2000. With his co-defendant’s knowledge and consent, Barkau sexually groomed and trained the child to become a BDSM (bondage-domination-sadism-masochism) sexual dominatrix. He did so by engaging in BDSM activities with the child 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.


            Barkau and his co-defendant resided in the same home as the child, whose mother allowed Barkau to engage in BDSM activities with the child and teach the child techniques to become a sexual dominatrix. When the child was 14 years old, Barkau created a business out of the home where he advertised the child over the Internet as a 19-to-20-year-old BDSM dominatrix, “Mistress Alisha,” on a Web site that he created called www.EvilMistressAlisha.com. Barkau’s co-defendant suggested the name “Alisha” for the child because it was her own former stripper name.


            For two years, Barkau sold the child, as “Mistress Alisha,” to sexually dominate men during online Web sessions and in-person BDSM activities. This included, among other things, bondage, beatings, burning, and genital mutilation. The customers paid for the sexual services via PayPal cash transfers and with “tributes,” which were products that served in lieu of cash payment; for example, a DVD player, a cappuccino machine and other electronics.


            The victim’s mother knew the child was performing as “Mistress Alisha” on the Internet and in her home and witnessed some of the sessions herself. In committing the offenses, Barkau utilized the victim’s mother to assist and encourage the child to serve as the dominatrix for Barkau’s illegal BDSM business. The victim’s mother accepted financial benefits from Barkau in exchange for her cooperation and support of the child’s BDSM activities.


            Under the terms of today’s binding plea agreement, the government and the defendants jointly recommend a sentence of 25 years in federal prison without parole for Barkau and a sentence of 15 years in federal prison without parole for his co-defendant. By pleading guilty today, they both agreed to forfeit to the government $80,000, which represents proceeds from the offense. Restitution for the victim will be sought at the time of the sentencing hearing.


            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