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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Convicted Sex Offender Sentenced to 40 Years for Sex Trafficking a 16-Year-Old Girl by Force

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alessandra P. Serano (619) 546-8104 and Connie V. Wu (619) 546-8592

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY February 22, 2017

 

SAN DIEGO, CA – Luther Gene Ray, aka “Pumpkin,” was sentenced in federal court today to 40 years in prison for sex trafficking a 16-year-old minor female by force in 2014.

 

Ray was found guilty after jury trial in December 2015 for one count of sex trafficking of a minor by force, fraud or coercion and one count increased penalties for sex offenders.

 

The victim was a runaway girl. She met Ray at a local retail store within 30 days of his release from federal prison. Ray had previously been convicted of the same crime in Los Angeles back in 2007 and thus, was required to register as a sex offender. Ray served just 8 years on the prior offense and was on supervised release during the time. Ray lured the victim to work as a prostitute as a way to make money for herself.

 

The evidence at trial demonstrated that the victim received none of the money she earned through prostitution while Ray received thousands of dollars from the victim as well as at least three other women working as prostitutes for Ray. Ray used social media such as Facebook to brag about his lifestyle. The victim testified that Ray assaulted her - and other women in front of her - if they even looked at another man who might be a pimp. Law enforcement was alerted to Ray’s illicit activities after the victim called police while in juvenile hall.

 

As a result of Ray’s status as a sex offender, U.S. District Court Judge Roger T. Benitez was required to impose an additional 10 years in custody. In imposing the 40-year sentence, Judge Benitez said the sentence will send a message that sexually exploiting women and girls through violence will not be tolerated.

 

“This defendant terrorized and traumatized his 16-year-old victim, and now he will pay a very serious price for his crimes,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Alana Robinson. “We will continue to work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to detect and prosecute persons who engage in sex trafficking, a form of modern day slavery”.

 

FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric S. Birnbaum stated: “The sentence imposed on this defendant is a genuine reflection of both the horrific victimization suffered by these young girls and the terrible impact that this type of criminal behavior has on the life and the well-being of our communities. The FBI, along with our law enforcement partners, will continue to pursue the perpetrators of this type of heinous conduct with all of the resources available to us.”

 

DEFENDANT Criminal Case No. 15CR0498-BEN

 

Luther Gene Ray aka “Pumpkin” Age: 33 Hemet, CA

 

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

 

Count 1: Sex Trafficking by Force, Fraud or Coercion, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1591

Maximum Penalties: Life in prison, mandatory minimum 15 years per count

 

Count 2: Increased Penalties for Registered Sex Offenders, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §2260A

Maximum Penalties: Ten years in prison consecutive

 

INVESTIGATING AGENCIES

 

Federal Bureau of Investigation

San Diego Police Department

 

 

 

 

 

Topic(s): 
Human Trafficking
Press Release Number: 
CAS17-0222-Ray
Updated February 22, 2017