HOUSTON (KCEN) – Bobby Barrett, aka "Black," 30, has been convicted of sex trafficking of a minor who was under 18 with force, fraud or coercion, and transporting her across state lines for the purpose of engaging in prostitution, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
The jury returned its verdicts against the Killeen area man after a four-day trial and less than two hours of deliberation.
Barrett was found guilty of one count each of sex trafficking of a minor and transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
The federal charges brought against Barrett are the result of an investigation conducted by the Houston Innocence Lost Task Force, led by the FBI and the Shreveport, La., Police Department (SPD).
The investigation began in October 2013 after the victim was detained during an enforcement operation in Houston. Barrett bonded her out and then transported her across state lines to Louisiana where ads for prostitution services were posted. SPD arrested her in another operation less than two weeks later along with Barrett and another woman.
Testimony at trial revealed Barrett posted no less than 26 Internet prostitution ads from his phone. Barrett rented hotel rooms for the prostitution dates and supplied the victim and another woman with marijuana. The victim, a 17-year-old minor, testified she was the person depicted in seductive settings for the purpose of some of the advertisements for prostitution posted online. She said that at the time of the incidents, Barrett not only knew she was 17, but her High School identification was found in his pocket. Moreover, the minor testified she feared Barrett and that he cut her face during an altercation just prior to his arrest.
In addition to the victim's description, an expert further testified as to how this subculture operates. Barrett took all monies the minor victim earned.
Forensic analysis of Barrett's cell phone conducted by the FBI revealed pictures of multiple victims that were used in Backpage ads posted on the Internet. Phone records also confirmed that Barrett posted multiple ads on Backpage, including at least two minors under the age of 18.
Hotel records verified that Barrett traveled out of state with the victims. U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison, who presided over the trial, has set sentencing for Oct. 15.
At that time, Barrett faces up to 40 years in federal prison for sex trafficking of a minor and a mandatory minimum of 10 years and up to life imprisonment for transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
Upon completion of any prison term imposed, Barrett also faces a maximum of a life term of supervised release and will be required to register as a sex offender.
This case, prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julie N. Searle and Sherri L. Zack, was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide 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 Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."