According to evidence presented at trial, between September 2018 and May 2019, Santangelo recruited girls ages 15, 16 and 17 to engage in prostitution in northern California and southern Oregon. Santangelo made girls engage in sex acts for strangers by providing them with alcohol, drugs and creating a party atmosphere in motels in Stockton and Salinas. She then posted online prostitution ads depicting the victims and brought sex buyers to motels to have sex with the victims in exchange for the money she and her co-defendant, Lucious James Roy, 34, of Stockton, took to the victims. Santangelo also took the 17-year-old victim to a Ripon truck stop to engage in prostitution. Ultimately, the underage victims had sex with sex buyers in the motel rooms where Santangelo hosted them and on the streets of the towns where Santangelo took them. After the victims started engaging in commercial sex acts, Santangelo urged them to continue, falsely reassuring the 17-year-old victim that the experience was not that bad and offered to give the victim 16 years of feminine products so that she continues to engage. sexual acts during her period.
In early May 2019, Santangelo and his co-accused Roy recruited a 15-year-old runaway from the Modesto region to engage in prostitution. They drove Merced’s victim to Medford, Oregon, Santangelo’s former hometown, in order to put the 15-year-old to work by prostituting herself. Once in Oregon, Santangelo publicized the victim’s commercial sex acts on the internet and put her up in a motel room she rented. After a few days in Oregon, the victim called his family for help, and Oregon Police then found the victim in the Santangelo motel room with Santangelo and Roy.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Stockton Police Department, the San Joaquin District Attorney’s Office, the Medford, Oregon Police Department, and the County Attorney’s Office. from Jackson, Oregon. Assistant US prosecutors Cameron L. Desmond and Brian A. Fogerty are continuing the case.
On April 12, 2021, Roy was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller to 17 years and seven months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to engage in child sex trafficking.
Santangelo is due to be sentenced by Judge Mueller on November 8, 2021. Santangelo faces a maximum legal sentence of life in prison and a fine of $ 250,000. His convictions for child sex trafficking and transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity each carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after considering all applicable statutory factors and federal sentencing guidelines, which take a number of variables into account.
This case was brought up as part of the Safe Childhood Project, a national initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Prosecutor’s Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the Criminal Division, Project Safe Childhood brings together federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute those who exploit sexually, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information on the Safe Childhood Project, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. Click on the “Resources” tab for information on Internet Safety Education.