A Kent man convicted of using Backpage.com to sell a 16-year-old girl as a prostitute and of raping a woman who refused to prostitute herself for him was sentenced Thursday to 15 years to life in prison.
A Pierce County jury in January found Claude Anthony Hutchinson, 27, guilty of second-degree rape, promoting the commercial sexual abuse of a minor and two gross misdemeanors.
His co-defendant, Eugene Andrew Young, 29, was convicted of identical charges.
Superior Court Judge Ronald Culpepper last Friday sentenced Young to 20 years, 10 months in prison.
The men must serve the minimum terms set by Culpepper. It would then be up to the state's Indeterminate Sentence Review Board to decide if they should be released or serve more time, up to life.
Culpepper said Young, a Federal Way resident, was the main driver of the scheme to pimp the 16-year-old girl, who told authorities in 2012 she was afraid of the two men.
The case came to light after authorities received a tip that the teenager was being advertised as an escort on Backpage.com. Two undercover officers arranged to hire her then took her into custody at a Fife motel.
She told police the defendants "made her prostitute and she would feel pain if she did not comply," court records show.
On Thursday, deputy prosecutor Greg Greer asked for a high-end sentence of 19 years, eight months to life for Hutchinson.
Greer wrote in a sentencing memorandum that Hutchinson repeatedly raped the woman who refused to work as a prostitute to teach her a lesson. Hutchinson also recruited Young and another man to join in, Greer wrote. The 16-year-old girl witnessed some of that violence.
The rape victim wrote a letter to the court in which she said Young, whom she used to date, did not rape her but that Hutchinson had.
Defense attorney Barbara Corey asked for a low-end sentence of 14 years to life for Hutchinson.
She conceded her client took part in the rape but said he played "a lesser role" in pimping the teenager.
The Rev. Anne Barker, pastor at Faith Tabernacle World Ministries in Seattle, spoke on Hutchinson's behalf.
Barker asked Culpepper to show mercy to Hutchinson, who has a number of children who she said need their father.
Hutchinson declined to speak on his own behalf.
Culpepper said Hutchinson's actions did not merit a high-end sentence but were repugnant nonetheless.
"I have to give a little credit to Mr. Hutchinson. He's probably fairly good at something," the judge said. "The thing he's good at, though, is picking out vulnerable victims."