King County to pay $ 3.5 million to settle complaint alleging MPs left teenage girl in massage parlor, where she was forced into prostitution decades ago

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King County has agreed to pay $ 3.5 million to settle the lawsuit of a 45-year-old woman who claims that when she was a runaway teenager 28 years ago, sheriff’s deputies left her in a Federal Way massage parlor where she was forced into prostitution.

Under payment conditions, the woman – who asked to be identified only by her initials, MT – agreed to drop her case and any other potential claims against the county and its employees, while the county did not admit any wrongdoing.

But decades-old police reports written by an undercover detective as part of a prostitution sting operation proved essential to corroborate the woman’s claims and led to a favorable settlement, her attorney, Lincoln said. Beautiful eyes.

“The strength of the case was that a jury wouldn’t like to hear about a cop leaving little girls with pimps in a brothel,” said Beauregard, who represented MT with his legal partner Evan Fuller. “It’s not a good look.”

Reports detail that detective Jon Holland picked up then 17-year-old MT from a bus stop on Pacific Highway South in December 1993 and took her to The Golden Touch, a massage parlor in the center. commercial. Holland then asked two uniformed MPs to go into the business and identify MT, and they confirmed his age and left the girl there, according to an affidavit he later wrote.

MT claims that the operator of the massage parlor, a convicted pimp and rapist, took her that night to a house in Bellevue, where she was assaulted and held captive for weeks, while being forced to work in the street as a prostitute.

MT eventually escaped, but this first encounter indoctrinated her into the sex trade and has led to years of addiction, mental health issues and other issues, she argues. She sued the county last year, claiming in her complaint to King County Superior Court that MPs ignored mandatory reporting laws and “did not exercise the slightest care … to prevent abuse. sexual and physical changes that changed MT’s life “.

Lawyers for the King County District Attorney’s Office, which defended the case on behalf of the County Sheriff’s Office, twice tried to have the case dismissed, but a judge ruled whenever the case could. stand trial. The county’s settlement with MT was finalized on August 30.

The DA’s office declined to comment and referred the questions to the sheriff’s office. Sgt. Tim Meyer, spokesperson for Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht, said on Tuesday that the sheriff’s office had made no comment.

Holland, 57, who retired in 2019 after 30 years in law enforcement, did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.

MT was a high school dropout with a troubled home life and nowhere to stay when Holland, working undercover in an unmarked vehicle, picked her up from the Pacific Highway South exit. MT said a neighbor she had previously babysat worked at the massage parlor and gave her the address, and Holland offered to take her there. By this time the detective had investigated The Golden Touch and its operators – Michael Larry Landry, and his girlfriend, Rochelle C. King – for over a year and a half, according to the records.

After Holland agreed to drive MT, he “asked her several times how old she was,” says an affidavit he later wrote. “She finally admitted to being seventeen.”

The affidavit goes on to say, “She started to cry and said she was afraid to go. She said she had never worked in a massage parlor before. She asked me if I knew what she would be required to do.

“I told her that she would be forced to perform sexual acts on clients in exchange for money,” the detective added. “I dropped her off at the company and watched her come in.”

The sheriff’s vice team investigated for at least eight more months as Holland and other MPs compiled evidence used to help indict and convict Landry and King.

Landry pleaded guilty to six counts of promoting prostitution, admitting that he “knowingly furthered the prostitution of (MT)”, as well as two other girls and three women, according to court records. He served over two years in prison, while King got one year of community supervision.

In an interview last year, MT said she had struggled for years with low self-esteem, post-traumatic stress and suicidal thoughts, and sometimes returned to sex work to pay her rent. and its invoices. After having undergone trauma therapy in 2018 with the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, MT said she finally recognized herself as a victim of trafficking and realized that MPs had played a role.

MT’s settlement with the county in part “is intended to include funds for the payment of any past or future health care costs related to my injuries resulting from these claims and / or related injuries,” according to the agreement. she signed.


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