David DeLay, the man who was convicted of multiple sex crimes – with one against an 18-year-old Redmond woman, was sentenced to 33 years in prison April 12.
U.S. Attorney Anette L. Hayes said Delay, 52 of Lynnwood, was sentenced for his “predatory and exploitative scheme to recruit young women and teens to prostitution for his own enrichment.
“He deserves a long sentence and a sentence that sends a message to the community that these crimes will not be tolerated,” U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik said in a news release.
“The long prison sentence imposed in this case is just punishment for the devastating impact this defendant had on his victims,” Hayes added. “As they bravely testified in court, the defendant’s conduct left his victims with deep and lasting emotional scars. There simply is no place in civilized society for the kind of sexual exploitation that this defendant engaged in without so much as a second thought.”
According to evidence presented in court, including the testimony of seven victims, DeLay targeted vulnerable teenagers and young women in their early 20s by claiming to be a famous film producer with a multi-million dollar contract from HBO to produce a documentary on prostitution.
He enticed his victims, several of whom he convinced to travel across the country to be with him, into working for him as prostitutes by falsely claiming that they would make up to $20 million by participating in his documentary. In order to convince the victims that his assertions were true, DeLay sent them falsified bank account screenshots supposedly depicting the profits of his other films, a photograph of himself outside of an HBO office, and seemingly official, binding contracts that he asked them to sign that obligated them to pay him over $1,000 per week in prostitution proceeds.
DeLay falsely promised some of his victims that he was negotiating for them to star in a reality television show produced by Ryan Seacrest. Representatives from HBO and Ryan Seacrest Productions testified that the companies did not have any business dealings with Delay.
Once the victims arrived in Seattle, DeLay coerced them into prostituting themselves for his profit. He manipulated them emotionally, psychologically, and sexually; isolated them; made them completely dependent on him; and in some instances threatened legal action against them, falsely claiming that the victims had violated their contracts and were subject to civil penalties.
In furtherance of his sex trafficking scheme, DeLay also enticed two minor victims to produce graphic pornographic photographs and videos for him, and in two instances threatened to release sexually explicit video images of his victims unless they complied with his demands.
“DeLay used fraud and fear against vulnerable young women and girls to coerce them into commercial sex, turning them into sexual commodities for his own profit,” Acting Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Division said. “The Department of Justice will continue to vigorously pursue sex traffickers and today’s sentence is an example of our ongoing efforts to hold traffickers accountable for their horrific crimes and vindicate the rights of their victims.”
DeLay was first discovered by Redmond police in November 2014 when a Redmond police officer interviewed one of DeLay’s victims, an 18-year-old Redmond woman. She initially reported cyberbullying and threats from Delay and his friend, Marysa Comer. The two had hacked into her personal online accounts and posted explicit photos of her on Facebook.
According to a past report, the victim was among other who were promised $20 million for prostitution services throughout the world.
But, according to a Redmond Police Department release, after the Redmond victim decided she no longer wanted to be a part of DeLay’s scheme and tried to leave his Lynnwood residence, the online harassment and threats began.
“We are proud of the excellent work done by the Redmond Police in partnership with the FBI,” Redmond Police Chief K. Wilson said. “Our close working relationship with our law enforcement partners allowed us to bring the needed resources to bear to ensure the defendant was arrested and convicted of his crimes.”
The FBI was also heavily involved in the case.
“The FBI remains committed to working with federal, state and local partners to combat such egregious criminal activities ” Special Agent in Charge Jay Tabb, of the FBI’s Seattle field office said in a news release. “In this case, the FBI worked closely with the Redmond Police Department and the US Attorney’s Office to get survivors the help they need, and traffickers the justice they deserve. Given the complexity of Mr. DeLay’s criminal schemes, our team included multiple experts all working as part of the Child Exploitation Task Force, a unit which continues to identify other victims and predators so we can disrupt cycles of abuse. ”
Judge Lasnik ordered DeLay to pay $76,700 in restitution to his victims, plus additional costs for counseling and medical care. Following prison, DeLay must register as a sex offender and will be on supervised release for the rest of his life. Because DeLay has continued to harass his victims on social media, the judge requested the prison system and U.S. Probation limit his access to social media and computers.
Co-defendant Comer, 23, of Matthews, North Carolina, previously pleaded guilty on Nov. 16, 2015, to one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking for her role in DeLay’s scheme. She was sentenced to 36 months in prison on December 1, 2017.
The case was investigated by the FBI’s Seattle Field Office and the Redmond Police Department, along with assistance from the FBI’s Chicago Field Office, the King County Sheriff’s Office, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, the Beaverton, Oregon Police Department, and the Bureau of Prisons. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kate Crisham and Trial Attorney Matthew Grady of the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.