Sex trafficking ring prosecution lands historic sentence

Otis Washington faces four decades in prison

 


Otis Deno Washington

Otis Deno Washington, 30, the last of the Washington family members to be convicted for operating a sex trafficking ring, was sentenced January 9 to 40 years in prison.

According to the Ramsey County attorney’s office, this is the longest penalty imposed on a sex-trafficking defendant in Minnesota history.

In addition to the 40-year prison sentence, the judge imposed a lifetime predatory offender registration on Washington.

Ramsey County attorney John Choi said in a statement that the sentence “bolsters Ramsey County’s efforts to end the enslavement of young women and girls in the commercial sex trade in our community.”

Choi noted the help of victim advocates such as Breaking Free for their role in helping crack the case, in addition to the investigative work of St. Paul police, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and the Vick Human Trafficking Task Force.

Investigators were able to compile a case against the Washington family as the result of computer-intensive data tracking.

According to the county attorney’s office, the Washingtons used a variety of different e-mail addresses, at least 30 different phone numbers and over 100 credit cards to list online ads through adult websites such as Backpage.com.

Otis Washington was charged with two counts of promotion of prostitution, two counts of solicitation to practice prostitution (one of which involved a minor), and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking.

Washington is one of four family members involved in the case, which came to light in April 2013.

In December 2013, Judge Rosanne Nathanson sentenced Otis Washington’s brother, Antonio Washington-Davis, to 36 years in prison for his role in the sex trafficking ring. Their uncle Robert James Washington, 56, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit second-degree sex trafficking on July 12, 2013. Another uncle, Calvin Roy Washington, pleaded guilty to one count each of second-degree sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit second-degree sex trafficking on July 15, 2013.

According to a statement from the Ramsey County attorney’s office, the group’s sex trafficking activities spanned nearly two years, from September 2010 to July 2012, and included numerous young female victims. One of the victim was 15 years old.

— Patrick Larkin
 

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