THREE DEFENDANTS SCHEDULED TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING, KIDNAPPING, AND TORTURING WOMAN

   

For Immediate Release
Case # 14WF2844

July 30, 2014

 

Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
Office: 714-347-8408
Cell: 714-292-2718

Farrah Emami
Spokesperson
Office: 714-347-8405
Cell: 714-323-4486

THREE DEFENDANTS SCHEDULED TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING, KIDNAPPING, AND TORTURING WOMAN

 

SANTA ANA – Three defendants are scheduled to be arraigned today for human trafficking, kidnapping, and torturing a woman. Renice Stevenson Flores-Davis, 26, Costa Mesa, is charged with two felony counts each of torture, kidnapping, mayhem, and one felony count each of human trafficking, aggravated assault, pimping, and pandering, with sentencing enhancement and allegations for personal infliction of great bodily injury and great bodily injury. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 56 years to life in state prison.

Oscar Gonzalez-Salinas, 33, Costa Mesa, and Cierra Rose Thompson, 27, Silverton, OR, are both charged with two felony counts of kidnapping, one felony count each of torture, human trafficking, mayhem, aggravated assault, pimping, and pandering, with sentencing enhancement and allegations for personal infliction of great bodily injury and great bodily injury. If convicted, Gonzalez-Salinas and Thompson each face a maximum sentence of 39 years to life in state prison. The People will be requesting the three defendants be held on $1 million bail at their arraignment this afternoon in Department CJ-1, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.

Circumstances of the Case

Flores-Davis is accused of being a human trafficker/pimp who exploits women and/or children for financial gain. The victims are required to turn over all payment they receive for sex acts from sex purchasers to their pimp. Failure to follow these rules can result in deprivation of food and/or physical and/or emotional abuse.

In May 2014, Flores-Davis is accused of recruiting 26-year-old Jane Doe to perform commercial sex services for his benefit. He is accused of living in the same motel with the victim and transporting Jane Doe throughout Orange County to perform commercial sex acts.

On July 22, 2014, Flores-Davis is accused of becoming upset with the victim and burning her with a heated glass pipe that is used to ingest methamphetamine while they were staying at a motel in Westminster. He is then accused of using zipties to tie the victim to a chair, duct taping her mouth, and blindfolding her. Later in the evening, Flores-Davis and Thompson are accused of duct taping Jane Doe’s mouth and using zipties to tie the victim to the bathroom sink where she slept.

Flores-Davis is accused of forcing the victim to remain under the supervision of Gonzalez-Salinas and Thompson.

On July 27, 2014, Flores-Davis and Gonzalez-Salinas are accused of torturing Jane Doe by physically beating her, burning her multiple times with a hot electric clothing iron by placing it on her back, and tying the victim to a chair and tipping it back. They’re also accused of pouring water down the victim’s mouth and nose. Thompson is accused of aiding and abetting in the torture.

At approximately 6:00 p.m. on July 28, 2014, the Costa Mesa Police Department (CMPD) responded to the motel room where Flores-Davis, Thompson, and the victim were staying in after a receiving a tip through Facebook. CMPD arrested the two defendants and the victim was taken to a nearby hospital. Later that evening, CMPD located Gonzalez-Salinas in a different nearby motel and arrested him.

Members of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF) and the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) Office work proactively to protect women and minors from falling victim to commercial sexual exploitation. This case was investigated by OCHTTF, a partnership between the Anaheim Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Huntington Beach Police Department, OCDA, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and community and non-profit partners. The investigation by the Westminster Police Department and CMPD with assistance from OCHTTF is ongoing.

Deputy District Attorney Brad Schoenleben of the HEAT Unit is prosecuting this case.

Proposition 35 and HEAT

In November 2012, California’s anti-human trafficking Proposition 35 (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.