Case # 15CF0668
Date: September 17, 2015
MAN CONVICTED OF CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT PIMPING AND PANDERING BY PLACING SEXUALLY EXPLICIT ADS OF WOMAN ON INTERNET
*Defendant was out on bail and re-arrested for attempting to pimp the woman again
SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was convicted and sentenced today for conspiracy to commit pimping and pandering by using an Internet website known for prostitution and attempting to commit the same crime while out on bail. Barryn Vaugh Stroh, 35, pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to commit pimping, one felony count of conspiracy to commit pandering, and one misdemeanor count of disobeying a court order with a sentencing enhancement for crime-bail-crime. He was sentenced today to seven years and four months in state prison stayed pending completion of one year in jail and five years formal probation.
Circumstances of the Case
In January 2015, the defendant was involved in a romantic relationship with 25-year-old Jane Doe and placed sexually explicit ads of the victim on a website known for prostitution to solicit commercial sex. Stroh then collected the money she obtained for engaging in commercial sex.
On Feb. 25, 2015, an undercover police officer arranged a meeting with the victim at a hotel in Tustin. Police officers then arrived to the hotel room where they located and arrested the defendant who was in an adjacent room.
On March 9, 2015, Stroh posted $25,000 bail and was out of custody. He then placed sexually explicit ads of Jane Doe again on a website known for prostitution. On March 31, 2015, another undercover officer arranged to meet Jane Doe at a Santa Ana motel for commercial sex. Officers arrived to the motel and arrested the defendant.
This case was jointly investigated by the Tustin Police Department and Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF). Members of the OCHTTF and the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) Office work proactively to protect women and minors from falling victim to commercial sexual exploitation. OCHTTF is a partnership between the Anaheim Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Federal Bureau of Investigation, OCDA, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and community and non-profit partners.
Deputy District Attorney Daniel Varon of the HEAT Unit prosecuted this case.
Proposition 35 and HEAT
In November 2012, California’s anti-human trafficking Prop 35 was enacted in California with 81 percent of the vote, and over 82 percent of the vote in Orange County, to increase the penalty for human trafficking, particularly in cases involving the trafficking of a minor by force.
A component of the OCHTTF is the OCDA’s Human Exploitation And Trafficking (HEAT) Unit, which targets perpetrators who sexually exploit and traffic women and underage girls for financial gain, including pimps, panderers, and human traffickers. The HEAT Unit uses a tactical plan called PERP: Prosecution, to bring justice for victims of human trafficking and hold perpetrators responsible using Prop 35; Education, to provide law enforcement training to properly handle human trafficking and pandering cases; Resources from public-private partnerships to raise public awareness about human trafficking and provide assistance to the victims; and Publicity, to inform the public and send a message to human traffickers that this crime cannot be perpetrated without suffering severe consequences.
Under the law, human trafficking is described as depriving or violating the personal liberty of another person with the intent to effect a violation of pimping or pandering. Pimping is described as knowingly deriving financial support in whole or in part from the proceeds of prostitution. Pandering is the act of persuading or procuring an individual to become a prostitute, or procuring and/or arranging for a person work in a house of prostitution.
Penal Code Section 236.1 defines:
(1) “Coercion” includes any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act would result in serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process; debt bondage; or providing and facilitating the possession of any controlled substance to a person with the intent to impair the person’s judgment.
(2) “Commercial sex act” means sexual conduct on account of which anything of value is given or received by any person.
(3) “Deprivation or violation of the personal liberty of another” includes substantial and sustained restriction of another’s liberty accomplished through force, fear, fraud, deceit, coercion, violence, duress, menace, or threat of unlawful injury to the victim or to another person, under circumstances where the person receiving or apprehending the threat reasonably believes that it is likely that the person making the threat would carry it out.
(4) “Duress” includes a direct or implied threat of force, violence, danger, hardship, or retribution sufficient to cause a reasonable person to acquiesce in or perform an act which he or she would otherwise not have submitted to or performed; a direct or implied threat to destroy, conceal, remove, confiscate, or possess any actual or purported passport or immigration document of the victim; or knowingly destroying, concealing, removing, confiscating, or possessing any actual or purported passport or immigration document of the victim.
(5) “Forced labor or services” means labor or services that are performed or provided by a person and are obtained or maintained through force, fraud, duress, or coercion, or equivalent conduct that would reasonably overbear the will of the person.
(6) “Great bodily injury” means a significant or substantial physical injury.
(7) “Minor” means a person less than 18 years of age.
(8) “Serious harm” includes any harm, whether physical or nonphysical, including psychological, financial, or reputational harm, that is sufficiently serious, under all the surrounding circumstances, to compel a reasonable person of the same background and in the same circumstances to perform or to continue performing labor, services, or commercial sexual acts in order to avoid incurring that harm.
(i) The total circumstances, including the age of the victim, the relationship between the victim and the trafficker or agents of the trafficker, and any handicap or disability of the victim, shall be factors to consider in determining the presence of “deprivation or violation of the personal liberty of another,” “duress,” and “coercion” as described in this section.