Man Sentenced to 50 Years in Prison for Sex Trafficking of a Minor
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 28, 2013|
FRESNO, CA—United States District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill sentenced Maurice Hunt, 35, to 50 years in prison for sex trafficking of a minor, obstruction of justice and tampering with witnesses, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner and FBI Special Agent in Charge Monica Miller announced. Hunt, who chose to represent himself at trial, was convicted by a jury of these charges on August 9, 2013.
In imposing this sentence, Judge O’Neill noted the “horrendous abuse” Hunt had inflicted on the 13-year-old victim in this matter, stating that Hunt had “threatened the safety of the weakest among us” and “took the dignity of a young girl. [He] humiliated her.” Judge O’Neill cited Hunt’s extensive criminal history, stating, “Your entire life has been defined by criminal conduct.”
According to evidence presented at trial, Hunt met the victim in October 2011 when she was a runaway and alone. Within days of their meeting, Hunt began to prostitute her and then, following a dispute, beat her with fists, feet, and a stick, leaving her covered in bruises. He continued to prostitute the victim for the next few days, including taking the victim and two other females to Bakersfield for two nights, where the victim continued to engage in prostitution for him.
“This sentence demonstrates the seriousness of the crimes committed by those who traffic in young girls. These crimes can be particularly brutal,” stated U.S. Attorney Wagner. “That is why we have focused on cases involving the sex trafficking of minors. As a result of his convictions today, Maurice Hunt will be spending many years behind bars where he cannot harm other girls.”
“Today’s sentence highlights the seriousness of the heinous crimes committed by Hunt,” said U.S. Attorney Wagner. “The victim suffered sexual abuse, physical assaults, and humiliation at the hand of this defendant. We will continue to devote our full efforts to prosecuting those who commit such exploitative crimes.”
“Hunt exemplifies the culture of violence and relentless intimidation that is prevalent among child sex traffickers. This sentence is commensurate with his depraved behavior, which he inflicted upon young, defenseless victims and sends a message to others who prioritize commercial gain ahead of the welfare of children,” said Monica Miller, Special Agent in Charge of the Sacramento Field Office of the FBI. “We thank the Fresno Police Department Vice Unit for their assistance and continued partnership. The FBI is committed to investigating these types of crimes, identifying children who are commercially sexually exploited, offering these victims a fighting chance at living normal lives, and ensuring that violent abusers like Hunt face significant charges for these types of crimes.”
This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Fresno Police Department’s Vice Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Michael Frye and former Assistant United States Attorney Elana S. Landau prosecuted the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. Click on the “Resources” tab for information about Internet safety education.