News and Press Releases

Recruited Women and Advertised Commercial Sex Acts on the Internet

September 29, 2008

JEROME EUGENE TODD, 29, of Everett, Washington was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 26 years in prison, five years of supervised release, and $68,500 in restitution for Conspiracy to Engage in Sex Trafficking, three counts of Sex Trafficking, and one count of Interstate Transportation in Furtherance of Prostitution. TODD was convicted May 21, 2008, following a ten-day jury trial. The jury deliberated for one day before finding him guilty on all counts in the indictment. At sentencing U.S. District Judge James L. Robart stated that the crime was “serious” and described TODD as having become “dependent on a lifestyle -- to be a player or a womanizer or whatever -- that requires [him] to manipulate and exploit women.” TODD is also required to register as a sex offender as a result of this conviction.

According to testimony at trial and court documents, from January 2007 until October 2007, TODD recruited three female victims to work as prostitutes in the Snohomish County area. TODD and an indicted co-defendant photographed the women and posted their pictures on the internet offering commercial sex acts and purchased ad space in Seattle Weekly to solicit customers. TODD set the prices for the sex acts, provided the female victims with cell phones so he could manage and control their activities, set strict rules about their conduct, and took all of their money for his own benefit and use. TODD created an environment of mental and emotional safety, then threatened to abandon the victims if they did not comply with his rules and directives about their work as prostitutes. For one of the victims, TODD seized on the opportunity of controlling a naive, young woman who was transient and troubled. When she balked, he began threatening her and assaulting her. For the other two women, he punished them when they “violated” his rules with beatings and threats. While he was committing these crimes, TODD was on supervised release for a federal bank fraud conviction and was able to avoid paying restitution on that conviction by having the victims earn an illegitimate income for him.

In asking for a lengthy prison term, prosecutors highlighted TODD’s predatory actions saying “...the crime of sex trafficking is one of the most egregious forms of human exploitation, particularly with respect to the manner in which the defendant acted as predator and opportunist. The government asserts that the defendant’s actions were calculated, intentional, and controlled. He continues to deny his actions and conduct and shows no remorse for the manner in which he treated (the victims).” Even during the sentencing hearing, TODD characterized himself as a “victim”, and this characterization was rejected by Judge Robart who referred to TODD as sophisticated in the manner in which he obtained multiple lawyers in the case to represent him.

In 2000, Congress enacted the Trafficking Victims Protection Act criminalizing sex trafficking under Title 18, United States Code, Section 1591. The Act provides, among other things, mandatory restitution for victims of sex trafficking. Sex trafficking is the use of power and control to exploit the labor of another person, and causing another person to engage in sex acts for money, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion. Regardless of race, legal status, age, or socio-economic status, human trafficking is modern-day slavery.

The case was investigated by the Everett Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Seattle Police Department, and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Karyn Johnson and Ye-Ting Woo.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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