A federal judge in Oregon on Friday sentenced a 39-year-old man to 40 years in prison for taking a teenage girl from Seattle and forcing her with beatings to work as a prostitute in Portland. The girl’s story was the cornerstone of an April 25 article in The Washington Times on sex trafficking in this country.
U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman in Portland handed James Albert Jackson the sentence sought by prosecutors after Jackson pleaded guilty in March to sex trafficking a minor through force, fraud and coercion. Jackson also was sentenced to five years of supervised release.
“Today, the 40-year sentence handed down … for James Jackson, a violent and predatory sex trafficker of children, sends a firm but clear message to others in the District of Oregon who are engaged in this form of modern-day slavery,” said U.S. Attorney Dwight C. Holton.
Prosecutors said Jackson beat the girl, then 15, about three times a week and had a history of violence against women. He had 26 prior criminal convictions on various assault and drug charges, they said.
The girl, whom The Washington Times called Jane, wrote the judge that Jackson “deserves all the time you can give him.” She did not testify at the sentencing because she was still haunted by the “emotional nightmare” of what had happened almost three years earlier, according to her lawyer.
Jackson convinced the girl to leave her troubled home in Seattle in 2008 and go with him to Portland, where he promised her a nice house, car and family, prosecutors said. Moments after they arrived, Jackson told her she had to “sell her ass,” court records show. When she objected, he choked and punched her until she agreed to be a prostitute.
“He made me believe I was not human and I was just for one thing - to make money for him,” she told The Times in April, calling her life a nightmare and suffering bruises and scars from many beatings.
She told the judge, “I remember the first week I worked for him on the streets; he would rip out my hair and punch me in the face. He threatened to break my neck and leave me dead in the streets. When I tried to fight back, he bit my finger so hard it was swollen for days.”
Asked why she didn’t leave, she told The Times, “I had nowhere to go. I didn’t know anybody. Where was I to go? He threatened to kill me all the time.”
According to prosecutors, the girl received approximately $45,000 in prostitution fees - money Jackson kept and used for cocaine.
Arrested for prostitution in September 2008, the FBI asked her if she wanted to go to Children of the Night, a private residential facility. “If I had not gotten arrested, I truly believe that James would have killed me later on that evening,” she wrote the judge. “There is no doubt in my mind that he is capable of murder.”
She is now attending college, but she told the judge her past still effects her.
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