- Associated Press - Thursday, May 7, 2015

SEATTLE (AP) - A couple is in federal custody accused of coaxing a developmentally delayed high school student into working as a prostitute by telling her they were shooting a documentary film about human trafficking and escorting.

David Delay and Marysa Comer told the girl she had to give them the money she earned as a prostitute, but that in exchange for her participation, they would give her $20 million once the film was produced, FBI agent Ingrid Arbuthnot-Stohl said in the criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle.

A federal grand jury issued an indictment against Delay and Comer on Wednesday on five counts of sex trafficking, conspiracy and transporting a person to engage in prostitution. According to the indictment, the scam started about five years ago and ended in December 2014.

A message left Thursday seeking comment from their lawyer, federal public defender Paula Semmes Deutsch, was not immediately returned.

Law enforcement officials first learned about the couple when the girl and her mother went to the Redmond Police Department on Dec. 10, 2014. They said the girl had met Comer through a social media website. The girl said she was lonely at the time because her parents were divorced and her mother worked a lot, the complaint said.

The girl became romantically involved with Comer, 19 at the time, and believed she was in love with her, the complaint said. She was then introduced to Delay, 48, and moved into the home the couple shared in Lynnwood, the agent said.

The couple arranged the girl’s prostitution dates through the Internet, the complaint said. The girl would turn over all earnings to the couple, the complaint said.

Over time they authorities say began taking her to other cities to work, including Chicago, Miami, Las Vegas and Houston, the complaint said. The girl later told officials that if she complained about a job, Comer would punch, slap, shove, kick and throw things at her. She claimed the couple recruited several other women ranging in age from 18 to 24.

When authorities searched Daley and Comer’s apartment on Dec. 19, they found more than 700 hotel cards, and a contract that had been signed by the girl stating that “upon completion of documentary and sale of said documentary (she) shall be paid $20 million provided all provisions of said documentary and agreement have been met.”

Comer was arrested in Chicago and Daley was arrested in Seattle. Both remain in custody.


Follow Martha Bellisle at https://twitter.com/marthabellisle

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