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National Human Trafficking Hotline statistics for California
National Human Trafficking Hotline statistics for California

Notable cases

D.C. interstate 'Call Boy' scandal (1982)

In 1982 The New York Times published an article exposing an international and politically connected pedophile network titled, Boy Sex Rings Said to Peddle Client Data to Foreign Agents. Investigators found that, "Prostitution rings are providing young boys to male customers in Washington and are reportedly selling information about their clients' sexual preferences to foreign intelligence services".

Male prostitutes between the ages of 13 and 16 were shuttled between the cities, and were paid from $50 to $250, with younger boys commanding the most. Anne Fisher of the Washington Metropolitan Police testified that she had uncovered a six-city prostitution network that used 12-year-old boys and allowed customers to pay for sex with credit cards. The cities involved are Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Orleans, New York, Washington and Houston.

"You could call a number in Houston from Washington and have a young boy brought to your room in Washington," stated Fisher.

Presidio Army Base daycare scandal (1989)

Gary Willard Hambright, a former worker at the center and a former Southern Baptist minister, was charged with abusing 10 boys and girls in the Presidio Army Base daycare. At least four children were discovered to have chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease. Mr. Hambright was charged with molesting only 10 children because other victims were so young they would not be allowed to testify in court, but more than 70 children had been interviewed by Army therapists as potential abuse victims. Allegations of sexual abuse surfaced at more than 10 percent of those centers since 1984. Among them are the centers at Fort Dix in New Jersey and the United States Military Academy at West Point.[1]

An officer at Presidio, Lt. Col. Michael Aquino, was investigated for his relation to these crimes. On Aug. 14, 1987, San Francisco police raided Aquino's Russian Hill home, which he shared with his wife Lilith. The raid was in response to allegations that the house had been the scene of a brutal rape of a four-year-old girl.[2]

The Orchid Club pedophile bust (1996)

In 1996 San Jose police were investigating an elite pedophile network known as the "Orchid Club". That investigation led to the indictment of sixteen men on charges of conspiring to produce and exchange child pornography. Members of the club were identified in at least nine states and three foreign countries.[3][4]

The club was involved in the "real-time exploitation of children" on the internet. Club members were able to send in requests and have them acted-out on live feeds. The club also held a pedophile ‘summit,’ at which members “traded stories about pre-teen girls they had molested and photographed in sexually explicit poses.”[5][6]

Digital Entertainment Network scandal (1999)

Digital Entertainment Network (DEN) was an incredibly high production value online streaming service which came online in May of 1999. Not only was DEN the precursor to Myspace and YouTube in more ways than one, it had a number of major advertising partners including Ford, Microsoft, Pepsi, Penzoil, Blockbuster Entertainment and DELL.[7]

On October 25, 1999, all three founders of DEN resigned amidst lawsuits pertaining to co-founder Marc Collins-Rector's sexual abuse of minors through the company.[8] One of those minors was noted Disney celebrity and co-founder of DEN, Brock Pierce.

The 2014 documentary An Open Secret details the men behind Digital Entertainment Network, who threw huge Hollywood parties where boys were being raped at gunpoint and being forced to do cocaine. An Open Secret can be still be found on YouTube.

Blue Orchid pedophile bust (2001)

In late March of 2001, yet another interlinked global network was exposed. The Independent reported that: “US authorities announced the arrest of four American citizens for involvement in an international child-porn ring called Blue Orchid.” The Los Angeles Times added further details the next day, reporting that “the United States and Russia have shut down a Moscow-based international pornography ring that used the Internet to sell videotapes of children engaged in sexual acts.”[9]

These tapes were said to sell for “between $200 and $300.” An Associated Press release held that: “Police seized some 600 videotapes, 200 digital video disks and many boxes of photographs.” Video duplication equipment and sales and shipping records were also seized, leading to “criminal inquiries in 24 nations … Many of the tapes were bought by people in the United States; others went to Germany, Britain, France, Denmark, China, Kuwait, Mexico and scores of other countries.”[10]

The Times reported that nine people had been arrested and fifteen search warrants issued. The AP report noted that four of those arrested were in Russia, where two suspects had, alas, “committed suicide.” The ring was also said by the Times to offer what were cryptically referred to as “custom-made videos” for the hefty price of $5,000 each. The contents of these videos were not revealed.[11]

Trial of Nickelodeon employee Jason Michael Handy (2004)

Jason Michael Handy, a production and casting assistant for children's entertainment network Nickelodeon, was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading no contest in 2004 to two felony counts, one of lewd acts on a child and one of distributing sexually explicit material by email, and to a misdemeanor charge related to child sexual exploitation.[12]

Hollywood casting molestation scandals (2011)

Martin Weiss, a longtime talent manager who specialized in representing young actors. He was arrested Nov. 29 and charged with eight felonies stemming from his alleged abuse of a boy who came to him for help in pursuing a music career. He is being held on $800,000 bail.[13]

Weiss' arrest came within weeks of a report that a man who was convicted of child molestation and abduction 15 years ago had been helping to cast young actors in major Hollywood films, using a different name than the one listed in the sex offender registry . Jason James Murphy, 35, faces felony charges of failing to file name and address changes with authorities.[14]

California passes SB1322, barring child prostitutes from being arrested (2016)

SB 1322, passed in 2016, bars law enforcement from arresting sex workers who are under the age of 18 for soliciting or engaging in prostitution, or loitering with the intent to do so.[15] The bill was meant to actually help sex trafficking victims by not having them charged with crimes, but fails to address what benefits this gives to their pimps.

Simply put, more time on the street and less time in jail means more money for pimps, and more victims for them to exploit.

Source: Washington Examiner

Oakland police sex scandal (2017)

In 2017 it was alleged by investigations that officers of the Oakland Police Department were having inappropriate relationships with a teenage sex worker, possibly while she was underage. The woman at the center of the sexual misconduct scandal said in a televised interview that she had slept with more than a dozen Oakland police officers. She also accused several officers of having sex with her when she was underage and said she had had sexual encounters with members of several other Bay Area law enforcement agencies. Some officers were fired or forced to resign over these incidents.[16] The Los Angeles Times even called the department a "cesspool" in the title of their story covering the scandal.

Operation Reclaim and Rebuild (2017)

Early in 2017 California police in San Diego arrested as many as 474 individuals connected to a massive child sex trafficking ring. At least 28 children and 27 women were saved in what was dubbed "Operation Rebuild and Reclaim".According to the task force, 142 male suspects were arrested on suspicion of solicitation, 238 suspects on suspicion of prostitution and 36 male suspects on suspicion of pimping. In San Diego County, last week's operation resulted in the arrest of 38 individuals, including 22 buyers, all of whom were charged with soliciting for prostitution, officials said. [17][18]

Press conference video

Michael Lockwood, musician and husband of Lisa Marie Presley, found with child pornography (2017)

Upon discovering her husband's collection of child pornography including hundreds of photos, Lisa Marie Presley contacted police and had her husband, musician Michael Lockwood investigated. While no formal charges have been filed as of yet, Michael Lockwood has had hundreds of devices confiscated by the police and the investigation is still pending. In the meantime, the state of California has placed their children into the custody of Child Protective Services.[19]

Areas of interest

Associated locations

See also