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Press Release

Martinsburg woman sentenced to 40 years for trafficking a teenager

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of West Virginia

MARTINSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – Destiny Rebecca Somersall, age 41, of Martinsburg, West Virginia, was sentenced today to 40 years in federal prison for sex trafficking of a child.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Somersall befriended a Florida man, 76-year-old John Balch, who requested photos and videos of a minor in exchange for money and gifts. Somersall sent sexual photographs and videos of the minor. One of the videos included a second victim. Somersall later agreed to drive the teen to a hotel in Maryland for sexual contact with Balch for money on multiple occasions. Investigators found at least 60 cash transactions between Balch and Somersall over a period of two years totaling $13,725.  

Balch was indicted in the District of Maryland and pled guilty to related charges.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberley Crockett prosecuted the case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security Investigations investigated. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Maryland assisted.

U.S. District Judge Gina M. Groh presided.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.  For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit  

For more information on human trafficking, go to To report a potential human trafficking crime, email or call 304-234-0100.         

Updated October 30, 2023

Human Trafficking