An 18-year-old Novato man accused of pimping and threatening a Marin City girl was sentenced to nine months in jail Wednesday.
Dylan Baker could face a three-year prison sentence if he violates the terms of his probation over the next five years.
"Trafficking of young children is modern-day slavery, and you were the enslaver, whether you think so or not," Judge Paul Haakenson told Baker.
The investigation began on Sept. 11, when the 16-year-old girl told authorities that she was being threatened by a man for whom she had been working as a prostitute in the San Rafael Canal area, the sheriff's department reported.
The girl said that she had been working for the man since June and wanted to quit, but he would not let her stop and threatened her life if she failed to keep paying him money.
Prosecutors could not charge Baker with pimping because he was 17 at the time of the alleged sex crimes, but the threat occurred after he turned 18 in mid-August.
Baker was charged with attempted pimping of a minor and criminal threats, and he pleaded guilty to the latter charge. The conviction means Baker has one strike toward a potential life sentence under the state's "three strikes" law, said Deputy District Attorney Nicole Pantaleo.
"This defendant as well as others engaging in this type of act need to understand the severe consequences it imposes on victims in the sex trade," Pantaleo said. "Such criminal conduct is not going
to be taken lightly and we need to work as a community to ensure the safety of our youth."
Baker submitted a letter of apology to the court. The victim was not present during the sentencing.
"He's remorseful, and he's ready to move ahead with his life in a positive manner," said Baker's defense attorney, Kevin Heaney.
Contact Gary Klien via email at firstname.lastname@example.org ___