Two men and a woman from San Bernardino have been accused of coercing a teenage girl, 15 at the time, into prostitution and selling sexual services on the internet.
One of the men, a family counselor for EMQ FamiliesFirst, and his uncle face multiple felony charges filed Thursday by San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos, according to a joint statement issued Thursday.
All three men are accused of pimping a minor.
One of the alleged pimps, Daron Lamar Whitworth, 42, of San Bernardino, was taken into custody Thursday by personnel from the Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force and the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Bureau of Investigation, according to both agencies.
Whitworth was booked at Central Detention Center in San Bernardino, authorities said.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Jacory C. Williams, 30, of San Bernardino, for his alleged role in assisting Whitworth.
The woman in the complaint is Charmaine Williams, 24, of San Bernardino, already in custody in Los Angeles County on unrelated charges, authorities said. She was held Thursday at Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown L.A., according to inmate records.
"Charges include felony counts of Human Trafficking, Pimping a Minor Under 16 Years of Age, Pandering by Procuring a Minor Under Age 16, Child Abuse, Procuring a Child to Engage in a Lewd Act, Contact and Communicating with a Minor for a Sexual Offense, multiple counts of Unlawful Sexual Intercourse with a minor, Corporal Injury to cohabitant, False Imprisonment by Violence, and Sodomy of a Person Under 18," the joint statement said.
Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force officers began investigating in August 2012, after the arrest of a juvenile who was engaged in street prostitution in Hemet, authorities said.
"Early on in the criminal investigation of this case, it became apparent a significant portion of the alleged criminal acts occurred within San Bernardino County," Sgt. John Sawyer, supervisor of the Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force, said in the joint statement. "This prompted members of the RCAHT Task Force to contact and work collaboratively with our law enforcement partners in San Bernardino County."
Members of RCAHT identified Whitworth as an employee for EMQ FamiliesFirst, a non-profit, non-governmental agency that provides mental-health, foster care and social services to young children and families in San Bernardino County, authorities said.
As a Family Specialist employed by EMQ FamiliesFirst, Whitworth was responsible for providing guidance, services and support to children and their families and caregivers, authorities said.
"The successful outcome we achieved in this investigation would not have been possible without the cooperation and assistance we received from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department and the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office," Sawyer said. "This level of cooperation amongst our agencies goes to show that law enforcement is overcoming challenges and jurisdictional obstacles that human trafficking cases can present."
Investigators believe there may be more victims. Anyone with more information or who believes they have been a victim was urged to contact Sawyer at (951) 544-7000.
"I refuse to stand by and allow our children, or anybody for that matter, to be sold for sex and someone else's pleasure," Ramos said. "This is a war as far as I am concerned, so pimps beware."
Deputy District Attorney Melissa Rodriguez is prosecuting the case.
A pdf copy of a felony complaint naming Whitworth, Jacory Williams and Charmaine Williams is attached to this report.