A man who compelled two 15-year-old girls to work as prostitutes in Los Angeles and National City to earn money for him and his wife was sentenced Thursday to nine years in prison.
In handing down the punishment to Robert Johnson, 27, in a San Diego courtroom, U.S. District Judge William Hayes told him the crimes amounted to a “cold-blooded and calculated offense.”
The victimization of the underage victims came to light in April 2015, when a police officer stopped one of them in the 500 block of National City Boulevard because she looked very young and was walking up and down a road known for prostitution, according to prosecutors.
The girl initially provided a false name and age but eventually told police the truth, saying she lied about her identity because her pimp had instructed her to do so.
The teen told authorities she had been working as a prostitute for Johnson and his wife, Ashley, for several months, mostly in the Los Angeles area, giving all of her earnings to them, court documents state.
The girl reported that another 15-year-old girl and the Johnsons were staying at a motel in National City and that the couple carried a firearm and a pellet gun.
Officers went to the lodge, used a ruse to get the Johnsons and the other girl to come outside and retrieved the guns along with condoms, phones, identification cards and money from the rented room and the Johnsons’ car, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego.
During the sentencing hearing, Hayes said Robert Johnson had used the victims “as a business,” leaving a “trail of destruction” behind him. Hayes also noted that the defendant himself had young daughters and would “be horrified if someone did this” to them.
On June 14, the same judge ordered Ashley Johnson, 26, to serve 70 months in custody for her role in the sex trafficking of the two girls.
–City News Service
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