Mother, 44, ‘pimped out her 15-year-old daughter’ on backpage.com by claiming she was three years older.The ad claimed the girl was 18. She was 15 at the time.
A Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office investigation tracked her to motel rooms in Everett, Edmonds and Fife.
It recently led to the arrest of a 44-year-old woman for investigation of promoting sexual abuse of a minor. The sex trafficking suspect, the girl’s own mother, could be charged with a Class A felony.
“She knew exactly what was going on and was complicit in the rape of a child for money,” sheriff’s office spokeswoman Shari Ireton said.
A county detective in February spotted a classified ad offering the girl’s services on backpage.com. The sales pitch was aimed at clients in the Everett area. The ad claimed the girl was 18. She was 15 at the time.
A search warrant later turned up thousands of texts from the girl’s iPhone during a five-week period late last year. More than 400 messages were from potential clients. More than a dozen others involved discussions of drugs.
The exchanges also included texts allegedly from the girl’s mother, asking her for her motel room number and what city she was in.
The detective wrote in an affidavit to establish probable cause for the mother’s arrest that the communication seemed “more out of a concern to keep tabs on her whereabouts. I know from my training and experience that this type of behavior is often indicative of a pimping situation.”
After the teen allegedly had a client walk away without paying, the woman allegedly wrote text messages telling her “Never give (people) anything without paying upfront” and “Next time get paid upfront.”
At one point, the mother allegedly wrote her daughter to find another hotel room for the night rather than come home. When the daughter reportedly asked her mom, “Is the money worth it?” her mother allegedly replied, ‘Yes, it sure is.”
On one occasion the teen was in an Edmonds hotel room when she wrote to a client, asking him to visit later because her mom had just dropped off food.
An acquaintance of the teen told the detective that the girl said “her mom was very well aware of what she was doing and encouraged it because she enjoyed the money.”
In an interview with the sheriff’s detective earlier this month, the teen allegedly said her mom knew about her work as a prostitute. She reportedly estimated that she gave her mom about $2,000 from her earnings over the past year and that her mom often picks her up at motels so they can spend time together.
Ireton said the detective followed up on a lot of leads in gathering evidence.
“The concern is always about the victim,” she said.