Seattle Special Agent Describes David Delay Sex Trafficking Case

Special Agent Ingrid Arbuthnot-Stohl describes how convicted Seattle sex trafficker David Delay conned his victims.


Video Transcript

He pitched a lot of women. And he pitched some underage girls as well. The underage girls were generally more the lonely type, again, that were more socially isolated, and he was able to draw them in through promises of love, marriage, travel, some fame. But for the most part, again, it was that idea of not being alone.

In addition to his documentary scheme, he also was able to extort women in a different way. So there were two things we were focused on in this case: Not only the documentary, but the idea that he would form relationships with real women—either out of state or in state—and these women were often married, kind of having like this online extramarital affair. Or they were local single moms or something who were desperate for some extra cash. And he would promise to help them with rent or utilities or groceries or anything like that if they would send pictures of themselves. And these were like nude pictures, sexually explicit pictures. And then he would graduate into more extreme photos.

Text slide: Among the women Delay manipulated were teenagers.

Some of them were being extorted, like, “If you don't give me this, I’m going to tell your family.” He threatened to blow their lives apart, and that was extremely hard for them, which is how he was able to get some of these underage photos. 

Text slide: Investigators believe, based upon their review of Delay’s emails and text messages, that Delay may have also manipulated some women into sending him nude photos of their own children. 

He was able to get many photos this way of underage children. All the way from—we are talking 3-, 4-, 5-year-olds all the way though young teens, up to 12, 15.

Some of these people we have identified, and we were able to talk to them and get services for their children, and we were able to help them through this process.

So in October 2017, David Delay was convicted on 17 counts that ranged anywhere from sex trafficking of adults to sex trafficking of juveniles and also child pornography and obstruction of justice. And we were very pleased that during sentencing in April of 2018, that he received 33 years, which I thought was a fair sentence for him and sent a definite message to the victims that if they come forward, that there will be justice for them, and it's not going to be a slap on the wrist. It sends the message to those that would victimize others that this isn't something you can just get away with and just walk away—that there are going to be consequences for it. And I think that's something that is helpful for both victims and then may help prevent future crimes.

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