Notorious Sex Trafficker Terrence “T-Rex” Yarbrough
Sentenced To 536 Months In Prison
Memphis, TN – Terrence Yarbrough, a/k/a, “T-Rex,” 38, of Memphis, Tenn., was sentenced to 536 months in federal prison today by United States District Judge S. Thomas Anderson. There is no parole in the federal system. The sentencing follows Yarbrough’s December 2012 conviction by a federal jury on 10 counts of sex trafficking and one count of conspiracy to commit food stamp fraud.
“Today’s sentence of 536 months in prison ensures Terrence Yarbrough, a ruthless predator who inflicted unspeakable physical and emotional harm upon vulnerable young women, is held accountable for his depraved acts,” said Edward L. Stanton III, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee. “We will continue to prosecute those who engage in such reprehensible conduct.”
At the trial, victims recounted a series of violent acts perpetrated by Yarbrough to coerce them into prostituting for him, including beatings with belts, wooden coat hangers, crowbars, padlocks attached to belts, and dog chains. They also testified to being thrown down stairs, having their heads smashed into car doors, having their legs burned with irons, and being scalded with boiling water.
“The horrific physical violence, sexual abuse, and emotional torment suffered by the victims in this case cannot be undone, but this sentence ensures that their violent and evil predator will face the consequences of his actions,” said A. Todd McCall, Special Agent in Charge of the Memphis Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “The efforts of the FBI and our law enforcement partners have removed a human trafficker from our streets. We will continue to work together to aggressively pursue and bring to justice those who cruelly exploit others for profit, and to restore the rights and dignity of human trafficking victims.”
Evidence presented at trial included the testimony of 10 victims identified in the indictment, as well as several eyewitnesses and investigators. Numerous witnesses testified that Yarbrough repeatedly enticed vulnerable women as young as 15 years old into prostitution with false promises of love, family, and prosperity. Any time a victim refused to engage in prostitution, he resorted to threats, intimidation, and violence. The jury heard testimony that Yarbrough’s pattern of recruitment, exploitation, and violent coercion continued for years before his 2009 arrest in St. Louis.
One of the victims testified that Yarbrough forced her to engage in prostitution the entire time she was pregnant with his child. He frequently beat her on the stomach when she did not want to comply with his demands. He forced her to work as a prostitute in Tunica, MS in her eighth month of pregnancy and induced her labor through a severe beating. Yarbrough drove her back to Memphis and dropped her off at a hospital. The day after she left the hospital following childbirth, Yarbrough forced her to resume prostituting. Sometime later, Yarbrough smashed her on the head with a lamp and kicked out her front teeth when she tried to stop prostituting for him.
Another victim testified that Yarbrough lured her into prostitution by promising to reunite her with their children, and then beat her severely when she insisted on seeing them and refused to continue working. Yarbrough punched her in the face so hard he broke three of her teeth. On another occasion, he beat her knees with a metal pipe and caused injuries that continue to affect her. She also testified that Yarbrough threatened to prostitute their nine-year-old daughter.
The jury heard testimony that one exhausted victim slept through a phone call from a client after serving prostitution clients for days on end with almost no sleep. When Yarbrough found out she missed the call, he smashed her head into a car door, dragged her by the hair to his hotel room, and beat her with his belt. Jurors saw a letter addressed to that victim and signed by Terrence Yarbrough stating that he was proud of how she did not scream while he beat her with the belt.
Witnesses testified that Yarbrough bragged about his beatings of some victims to other victims to let them know what would happen to them if they disobeyed him. Jurors also saw the “T-Rex” logos Yarbrough tattooed on four separate victims, and heard that he claimed that they had been “branded” as his property. Testimony and jail recordings showed that Yarbrough confiscated his victims’ identification documents as well as all their money to make it difficult for them to escape.
Jurors also heard testimony that Yarbrough conspired with his mother, Norma Yarbrough Webb, 66, and Michelle Johnson, 41, to fraudulently obtain food stamp benefits while Yarbrough was incarcerated. Johnson and Webb previously pled guilty to related charges.
“The USDA-Office of Inspector General is committed to the investigation and prosecution of those individuals who fraudulently obtain food stamp benefits. We are very pleased we were able to work with the U.S. Attorney's Office and other law enforcement agencies in this case,” stated Karen Citizen-Wilcox, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Southeast Region for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General, with assistance from the St. Louis Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Skrmetti and Trial Attorney Benjamin J. Hawk of the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit prosecuted the case.