SAN FRANCISCO – LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – United States Attorney Scott N. Schools announced that a Melvin Parker, Jr., 32, of Richmond, California, was arraigned yesterday before the Honorable James Larson, Chief Magistrate Judge, on charges of Sex Trafficking of a Minor. The complaint alleges that over a period of weeks Parker made a 16 year old girl work for him as a prostitute in Contra Costa and Marin counties. This charge is a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the assistance of the San Rafael Police Department.
According to the affidavit filed by an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in connection with a criminal complaint, Parker and the victim began communicating over the internet and by cell phone while the victim was living in Washington state. In late June 2007, the victim traveled from Washington to the Bay area via bus to meet Parker. Upon her arrival, Parker picked her up at the bus station, took her to a hotel, and told the victim to work as a prostitute for him. According to the victim, Parker told her that she had to work as a prostitute for him or he would hurt her family. Parker was first arrested on August 9, 2007 by the San Rafael Police Department after an officer encountered the victim in an area known for prostitution and discovered that she was working as a prostitute for Parker.
Parker was arrested on a federal arrest warrant and made his first appearance in federal court in San Francisco on October 10, 2007. He is currently being held in federal custody pending a detention hearing which is scheduled for October 16, 2007 before the Honorable Edward M. Chen.
The statutory penalty for Sex Trafficking of Minor in violation of Title 18, United States Code, section 1591 is a mandatory minimum term of 10 years imprisonment, a maximum term of life imprisonment, and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, Title 18, United States Code, section 3553.
A complaint contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Parker must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Denise Marie Barton is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Legal Assistant Wilson Wong. The prosecution is the result of a three month investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and San Rafael Police Department.