November 20, 2014

‘John’ Who Purchased 14-Year-Old for Commercial Sex Sentenced to Two Years in Federal Prison

PORTLAND, OR—Senior U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Jones yesterday sentenced Ben Allen Riggs, 64, of Oregon City, to serve 24 months in federal prison. Riggs is the first “john” to be prosecuted in the District of Oregon for violating federal sex trafficking laws.

In September 2012, co-defendant Laura Lambden drove a 14-year-old girl from Vancouver, Washington, to Riggs’ home in Oregon City, to perform commercial sex acts. Riggs paid the 14-year-old girl to perform oral sex. Throughout the case, Riggs has denied knowing that the girl was a minor, but the government alleged at the sentencing hearing that Riggs should have known from her appearance that she was a child. Riggs pleaded guilty to violating the Mann Act, which prohibits the interstate transportation of any person for the purpose of prostitution. When Riggs is released, he will be required to serve five years of supervised release, and will be required to register as a sex offender.

“Buyers beware: if you purchase sex with a minor, you will be held accountable,” stated U.S. Attorney S. Amanda Marshall. “We cannot eradicate child sex trafficking until we find a way to reduce demand, and we know that exposure to prosecution and possible imprisonment will cause buyers to think twice when a young woman shows up at their door.”

Riggs’ co-defendant, Laura Lambden, was sentenced last month to serve 48 months in federal prison.

This case stemmed from a coordinated investigation by members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Child Exploitation Task Force, including the FBI and the Vancouver Police Department. The FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children through sex trafficking, as well as to identify and recover victims. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacie Beckerman.