A Seattle man who used “charm, intimidation and violence” to coerce girls and young women into working as prostitutes was sentenced last week to 35 years in prison, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
A King County jury in September convicted Shacon Barbee of two counts each of promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor and second-degree promoting prostitution, one count of leading organized crime, two counts of first-degree theft and one count of second-degree theft. Although the standard sentence range was 20 to 26 years, prosecutors recommended a 35-year exceptional sentence because of the “ongoing pattern of sexual exploitation of the minor victim and because of the defendant’s extensive criminal history,” according to the prosecutor’s office.
Barbee, 34, is a Level III sex offender who has a long criminal history, including convictions for second-degree child rape and communicating with a minor for immoral purposes, according to court records.
Barbee was arrested in December 2010. Charging documents alleged that since 2007, Barbee had led an “organized criminal enterprise” in which he used “charm, intimidation and violence to recruit and manage females.” Prosecutors and police said he forced three young women into working as prostitutes and then pocketing all of the money they earned. On most days, each woman earned more than $1,000 working as a prostitute, prosecutors say.
According to charges:
One 17-year-old girl was entrusted to recruit new prostitutes through online social-networking sites. The girl started working as a prostitute for Barbee at age 16.
An 18-year-old woman told police she started working for Barbee in May 2010, when she was a juvenile. She said Barbee got her a room at a motel near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and forbade her to leave. The woman said she advertised sex on backpage.com.
A third women, a 20-year-old, said she met Barbee in early 2010 and worked for him for about eight months. The woman claimed she averaged 10 to 15 “dates” every night, with instructions from Barbee to charge $150 for sex. The woman told investigators she earned an average of $1,500 each night.
Barbee reportedly beat the women with a leather riding crop, which he called his “pimp hand,” prosecutors said.
In early 2011, police searched Barbee’s storage unit and found a safe containing $18,300 in cash, $10,806 in receipts from high-end retailer Gucci and a large amount of women’s lingerie, according to charging documents.