David Delay, 51, faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced on numerous charges, including conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking, attempted sex trafficking of a juvenile through force, fraud or coercion and sex trafficking of adults through force, fraud or coercion.
A federal jury took just 90 minutes to convict a Seattle man of 17 felonies for posing as a documentary film producer to lure girls and young women into prostitution.
David Delay, 51, faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced by U.S. District Jude Robert Lasnik on Feb. 2 on charges that include conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking, attempted sex trafficking of a juvenile through force, fraud or coercion and three counts of sex trafficking of adults through force, fraud or coercion. He also was convicted of two counts of production of child pornography and obstruction.
Seven of Delay’s victims testified against him during a 10-day trial in Seattle that ended Monday when the jury returned with the verdicts, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“I commend the victims who courageously took the witness stand and described some of the darkest moments of their lives,” said U.S. Attorney Annette Hayes.
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Delay had protested his innocence and claimed he was being set up in extensive court filings since he was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2015.
Evidence presented at trial indicated that Delay and Marysa Comer, 22, of Matthews, North Carolina, used social media to target vulnerable teenagers and young women, luring them to Seattle with “false promises of fame and fortune” and a starring role in an HBO documentary on human trafficking they claimed to be filming, according to court pleadings.
Comer pleaded guilty to a single count of sex-trafficking conspiracy and cooperated with investigators.
To convince his victims, Delay would send them forged bank-account screenshots allegedly depicting profits from previous films, and a photograph of himself outside of an HBO office. They would be asked to sign realistic-looking contracts, prosecutors said.
Once in Seattle, purportedly as part of the documentary, Delay would coerce the women into prostitution. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Delay “manipulated them emotionally and psychologically, isolated them [and] established their complete dependency on him.”
In some instances, he would use the contracts the women and girls had signed to threaten legal action unless they complied with his demands.
Delay “also enticed minor victims to produce graphic pornographic photographs and videos for him, in once instance threatening to release sexually explicit video images of a victim unless she complied with his demands,” prosecutors said.
An HBO representative testified during the trial that the company did not have any business dealings with Delay, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.