A 26-year-old Kent man was charged in U.S. District Court in Seattle with sex trafficking of a minor.
Al-Penyo Brooks was transferred to federal custody in coordination with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, which had originally filed state charges in the case, according to a Nov. 2 U.S. Department of Justice news release. Brooks made his initial appearance in federal court on Oct. 30.
Brooks was identified as a suspect in May when Pierce County Sheriff’s deputies and Seattle Police Department officers worked urgently to recover a 17-year-old girl who had run away from her Pierce County home.
According to the complaint, the girl has developmental delays, and unbeknownst to her guardian, had set up a Facebook account. Using Facebook Messenger, Brooks communicated with the girl about her interest in music and writing songs. Brooks’ communication led the girl to believe he could promote her in the music business.
Even after the girl told Brooks she was 17, he made arrangements to pick her up near her home and told her how to evade her guardian. He picked her up and had an associate change her hair and clothing. He allegedly provided her with drugs and alcohol and sexually assaulted her while she was impaired. Brooks then reportedly instructed the girl to walk the “track” on Aurora Avenue North in Seattle, telling her to perform sex acts for money.
The girl was ultimately taken to an apartment in North Seattle where police located her when she signed in to Facebook on the IP address listed for the apartment.
Sex trafficking of a juvenile is punishable by a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum of life imprisonment, as well as a term of supervised release of at least five years and up to life.
Brooks was booked Aug. 18 into the King County jail for investigation of promoting sexual abuse of a minor, according to jail records. Bail was set at $250,000 and he remained in the jail until his release Oct. 30 into federal custody.
The charges contained in the complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by the Seattle Police Department. The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is working closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office on the case.