Lynnwood man sentenced to 33 years for sex trafficking scheme targeting young women

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Court exhibit showing David Delay outside HBO offices. (Photo courtesy DOJ)

A Lynnwood man was sentenced to 33 years in prison on Thursday for a sex trafficking scheme targeting teens and young women while he posed as a film producer, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The man, 52-year-old David D. Delay, was convicted of 17 felonies related to the scheme in November 2017. He was sentenced on Thursday.

“He deserves a long sentence and a sentence that sends a message to the community that these crimes will not be tolerated,” U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik said.

According to evidence presented in court, including the testimony of seven victims, the defendant targeted vulnerable teenagers and young women in their early 20s by claiming to be a famous film producer with a multi-million dollar contract from HBO to produce a documentary on prostitution.

“The long prison sentence imposed in this case is just punishment for the devastating impact this defendant had on his victims,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes “As they bravely testified in court, the defendant’s conduct left his victims with deep and lasting emotional scars. There simply is no place in civilized society for the kind of sexual exploitation that this defendant engaged in without so much as a second thought.”

Delay enticed his victims, several of whom he convinced to travel across the country to be with him, into working for him as prostitutes by falsely claiming that they would make up to $20 million by participating in his documentary. To convince the victims that his assertions were true, Delay sent them falsified bank account screenshots supposedly depicting the profits of his other films, a photograph of himself outside of an HBO office, and seemingly official, binding contracts that he asked them to sign that obligated them to pay him over a thousand dollars per week in prostitution proceeds, according to a Department of Justice release.

“Delay used fraud and fear against vulnerable young women and girls to coerce them into commercial sex, turning them into sexual commodities for his own profit,” said Acting Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice will continue to vigorously pursue sex traffickers and today’s sentence is an example of our ongoing efforts to hold traffickers accountable for their horrific crimes and vindicate the rights of their victims.”

Once the victims arrived in Seattle, Delay coerced them into prostituting themselves for his profit. Two minors were also coerced into producing pornographic photos and videos.

Judge Lasnik ordered Delay to pay $76,700 in restitution to his victims, plus additional costs for counseling and medical care. Following prison DELAY must register as a sex offender and will be on supervised release for the rest of his life. Because DELAY has continued to harass his victims on social media, the judge requested the prison system and U.S. Probation limit his access to social media and computers.

Co-defendant Marysa Comer, 23, of Matthews, North Carolina, previously pleaded guilty on Nov. 16, 2015, to one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking for her role in Delay’s scheme. She was sentenced to 36 months in prison on Dec. 1, 2017.

For more from our online news partner The Seattle Times, click here.

4 Replies to “Lynnwood man sentenced to 33 years for sex trafficking scheme targeting young women”

  1. But how many years will he “really” serve?? All we hear about is how overcrowded our jail cells are. I think we need to build bigger and better ones. When is he up for parole really?????

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  2. I hope he serves very many years. But I have to take issue with the need for bigger and better jails (well, better, yes… ). We already have the highest level of incarceration in the free world, and the jails and prisons we have a rife with abuses, poor health care, diminishing rehab programs, the scandal of poor management in private prisons, etc. This would argue for better – but possibly not for bigger jails and prisons. It also argues for some serious thought and debate about our philosophy of incarceration (punitive vs. rehabilitative) as well as a look at who and why we imprison.

    None of which is to say this creep shouldn’t serve the maximum sentence.

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    1. I’m surprised that someone who takes such an obvious interest in public affairs isn’t aware of the “debate,” which has been going on for quite a few years. But to bring you up to speed, America incarcerates more people, at a higher recidivism rate, than any other country:

      Rates of incarceration per 100,000: Recidivism rate
      US 666 76.7%
      Russian Federation 450
      United Kingdom 146
      France 104 59%
      Germany 78 48%
      Norway 70 20%
      Sweden 53 43%
      Japan 47
      Totals:
      United States (leading) 2,145,100
      China (second) 1,609,184
      Russian Federation (4th) 600,721

      What is equally alarming is the cost: operating all our federal and state prisons costs an estimated $80 billion per year. This would be bad enough, but researchers at Washington University (St. Louis) found that “for every dollar in corrections costs, incarceration generates an additional $10 in social costs,” which adds up to approximately $1 trillion, “more than half of that cost… borne by the families, children and communities of incarcerated people.”

      Thus the costs, combined with the recidivist rate, do, in fact, impact the “real world” in a far more solid way than a mere “debate.”

      Other countries seem to do it better; we clearly need to re-think what has become of our prison “industry,” which costs us unimaginable amounts of money for less positive results. And that’s not even to speak of preventative programs, which are universally regarded as an effective way to reduce crime, or in-prison education programs which directly effect recidivism in a very positive way. Both receive far less funding in the US than is needed.

      As for shark tanks, dismemberment, torture, and other such practices are generally dismissed as ineffective and barbaric, and as having a very bad effect on public morals.

      But I agree: this guy needs to stay locked up for a very long time.

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