A Spokane woman claims she was held captive and sold for sex at meth houses and motels for the past year.
Suspect Lawrence Dean Johnson, 43, has been arrested on human trafficking charges related to claims made by the woman to sheriffs detectives. Detectives corroborated the womans claims through property records and past police reports, including an arrest of a sex offender in March on accusations that he assaulted the woman.
The suspect in that case, level 3 sex offender Trevor L. Franklin, pleaded guilty to third-degree assault earlier this month and was sentenced to a year in prison.
Franklin, 21, was previously convicted of third-degree assault for threatening to kill a developmentally delayed woman if she did not let him sexually assault her. According to a sex offender notification from Spokane police in 2009, Franklin also had sexual contact with five others between the ages of 9 and 15 years old but was not charged.
Police arrested Franklin after responding to a motel at 12803 E. Sprague March 31 to find the woman hysterical and shaking while with her two-year-old son.
The woman told police shed been dating Franklin for several months but that he had been "holding her captive," forcing her to smoke methamphetamine and raping her, according to court documents.
The woman had bruises all over her body and said Franklin frequently beat her and burned her. She described being forced to work as a prostitute and said Franklin would take her child "to a cousins house" when she was working.
Police said they contacted Franklin and he denied ever burning the woman and said the case against him was "flimsy," according to court documents.
Then on Tuesday, the woman went to the Public Safety Building with a friend and described months of being forced to work as sex slave. She helped detectives identify Johnson and others as suspects.
Also arrested on human trafficking charges were Johnsons wife, Dina K. Tellez, 43, Christopher G. Foster, 33, and Shanell L. Haddon, 28.
Detective Dave Skogen said its the first human trafficking case hes seen in his years in law enforcement. More victims could be identified.
He said based on his training in the crime, he can understand why the woman did not escape the situation when she reported Franklin to police in March.
Skogen said theres a "vast difference" between trafficking victims and other kidnapping victims. "Theyre not locked up. Theyre not chained down. Theyre not held behind a chain door with armed guards. But what they are is intimidated and coerced and frightened, and really, truly, theyre in fear for their safety and their families," Skogen said.
Skogen said the woman told him her son is in Child Protective Services custody, but he has not yet confirmed that.
He said hes still investigating the details of the case, and that other arrests are possible.
"The situation in March, they were there and she was not free to say anything," he said. "I cant tell you what changed except that she escape,d she got away from the folks that were perpetrating it, and she had the ability to say something."