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Nov. 12, 2010

HOUSTON MAN SENTENCED TO MORE THAN 30 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR SEX TRAFFICKING

(HOUSTON) – Barry Lernard Davis, aka Sir Lewis, of Houston, has been sentenced to 405 months for sex trafficking of a minor, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity as well as coercion and enticement of an adult to engage in criminal sexual activity, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced today.

Davis, 34, was convicted by a jury in March 2010 following a three-day trial and one and one-half hours of deliberation. Today, U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon, who presided over the trial, sentenced Davis to 405 months on each of the first two counts of conviction and 240 months on count three which will all be served concurrently. The 405-month sentence will be followed by a lifetime on supervised release.

During trial testimony, the jury heard how Davis lured the victims with promises of shelter, food and material possessions. Once under his influence, the victims were controlled with both physical and sexual violence and the threat of deadly repercussions if they left him.

Davis had convinced a then 16-year-old high school student, who had been reported missing, to turn to a life of prostitution. She testified she was photographed nude in seductive settings for the purpose of advertisements for prostitution posted online. Testimony established that Davis drove her across state lines and solicited men to have sex with her for money in a hotel in New Orleans. She said that at the time of the incidents, Davis not only knew she was 16, but also that she was pregnant. Moreover, the minor testified she feared Davis.

The adult victim also testified at trial, recounting for the jury the numerous brutal beatings she suffered at the hands of Davis, including an incident where he broke her nose and forced her to “turn a trick” minutes later. She told the jury Davis put a gun to her head and told her that if she ever left him he would hunt her down and kill her. Additionally, this victim described in detail the underworld of pimps and prostitutes known as “the game,” including the “rules” adhered to by both pimps and prostitutes. All monies she and the minor victim earned were taken by Davis.

This investigation as well as the experiences of law enforcement led to testimony by FBI special agents confirming not only the existence of this underworld and its “rules,” but that there exists a special vocabulary commonly used among those in this illicit underworld. The behavior of Davis, as testified to by the witnesses, showed he was fully engaged in the world of pimps and prostitutes. Davis forced both victims to be tattooed with either his name or initials, a common underworld practice known as “branding.”

Additionally, forensic analysis of Davis’s computer conducted by the Greater Houston Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory revealed pictures of both victims on his computer. Hotel records verified that Davis traveled out of state with the victims which was corroborated by photos of them in several different states.

At the sentencing hearing today, the underage victim’s mother testified about the hold Davis has on her daughter and how traumatic this has been for the family.

The federal charges are the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI with the assistance of the Pasadena Independent School District Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Angela S. Goodwin and Assistant United States Attorney Sherri Zack and was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood and Innocence Lost, nationwide initiatives designed to protect children from online exploitation and domestic sex trafficking.

Project Safe Childhood is a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

In June 2003, the FBI in conjunction with the Department of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children launched the Innocence Lost National Initiative. Their combined efforts were aimed at addressing the growing problem of domestic sex trafficking of children in the United States. To date, these groups have worked successfully to rescue more than 1,200 children. Investigations have successfully led to the conviction of over 600 pimps, madams, and their associates who exploit children through prostitution.

Davis has been in federal custody since his arrest in July 2009, where he will remain to serve his sentence.

 

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