Orange County District Attorney, Press Release
For Immediate Release, Case # 13WF0628: July 11, 2013
*Co-defendant pimp is charged with forcibly sex trafficking the victim
SANTA ANA – An adult prostitute was convicted today of recruiting and sex trafficking a 14-year-old girl into prostitution in the first Orange County case of human trafficking of a minor under Proposition 35 (Prop 35). Cierra Melissa Robinson, 28, was found guilty by a jury today, July 11, 2013, of one felony count each of human trafficking of a minor and pandering of a minor under 16 years old by procuring. She faces a maximum sentence of 12 years in state prison at her sentencing Aug. 23, 2013, at 10:30 a.m. in Department C-39, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
Co-defendant Chuncey Tarae Garcia, 33, is charged with one felony count each of human trafficking of a minor by force or fear, pimping a minor, and forcible rape, with sentencing enhancement allegations for forcible rape of a minor 14 years of age and prior prison convictions for possession for sale of cocaine in 2007 and transportation of cocaine in 2009. If convicted, Garcia faces a maximum sentence of 28 years to life in state prison. Robinson is scheduled for jury trial July 15, 2013, at 8:45 a.m. in Department C-5, Central Justice Center.
What is Prop 35?
The case against Garcia and Robinson is the first to be filed in Orange County following the passage of California’s anti-human trafficking Prop 35 in November 2012. Under the law, human trafficking is described as inducing, causing, persuading, or attempting to induce, cause, or persuade a person who is a minor to engage in a commercial sex act with the intent to effect a violation of pimping or pandering. Human trafficking by force or fear includes the use of force, fear, violence, duress, menace, threat of injury, coercion, fraud, or deceit in the commission of the crime.
Prop 35 was enacted in California with 81 percent of the vote, and received over 82 percent of the vote in Orange County. It increases the penalty for human trafficking, particularly in cases involving the trafficking of a minor by force. Prior to Prop 35, a conviction for human trafficking of a minor by force or fear carried a maximum sentence of eight years in state prison. Defendants convicted of the same crime under Prop 35 now face a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in state prison.
Circumstances of the Case
Garcia is accused of being a pimp and Robinson worked for him as a prostitute and recruited other women to prostitute for Garcia. In the primp/prostitution subculture, pimps often assign ranks to the women they exploit. They often establish rigid rules that their victims are expected to follow including requiring victims to speak only when spoken to, address the pimp as “Sir” or “Daddy,” setting daily quotas that the victims are expected to fulfill, and assigning seats in the car based on “rank.” Failure to follow these rules can result in deprivation of food and/or physical or emotional abuse. Robinson was the highest-ranking of Garcia’s prostitutes.
In February 2013, 14-year-old Jane Doe lived in another state and ran away from home. A missing persons report was filed by her family. After running away, Jane Doe met Robinson, who befriended the victim with the intention of procuring her as a prostitute for Garcia.
One night in February 2013, Robinson introduced Garcia to Jane Doe, and Garcia is accused of and Robinson is convicted of taking the victim to a hotel room under the pretense of offering her an opportunity to make money. Once at the hotel, Garcia is accused of telling Jane Doe that she would be working as a prostitute for him. Garcia is accused of telling Robinson to purchase a cell phone for Jane Doe and post sexually explicit advertisements depicting Jane Doe on the internet. Two days later, Garcia is accused of trafficking Jane Doe, along with Robinson and a third woman, into California to Orange County.
Garcia is accused of taking the victim to Buena Park and forcing her to work as a prostitute by walking down the street in high-prostitution areas in order to be sold to men for sex, known as “Johns.” He is also accused of posting sexually suggestive ads of Jane Doe on prostitution websites. Garcia is accused of forcing Jane Doe to have sex with random adult sex purchasers, collecting all of the money she received from adult men, and setting a daily quota that Jane Doe had to meet under the threat of withholding meals if she did not bring in enough money.
After Jane Doe’s first day as a forced prostitute, Garcia is accused of raping the victim by duress, as she was too fearful of the defendant to resist. Jane Doe was vulnerable, isolated, and scared of the defendant, who had been violent toward her and whom she had witnessed be violent toward another woman.
After initially recruiting Jane Doe and procuring her to Garcia, Robinson outlined the rules of prostitution to Jane Doe, including instructing her on how much to charge for various sex acts, dress code, assigned seats in the car, and proper names to call Garcia, including “Daddy” or “Sir.” Garcia is also accused of outlining the rules of prostitution and telling Jane Doe that the victim was not allowed to look at black men because they may be pimps and interpret her looks as an invitation to take her money.
At approximately 2:00 a.m. on March 1, 2013, Garcia, along with Robinson, is accused of driving with another woman and Jane Doe in Garden Grove. A Garden Grove Police Department (GGPD) officer pulled the car over in a routine traffic stop for a broken headlight. Upon making contact with the driver and passengers in the vehicle, the officer became suspicious because Jane Doe looked extremely young and the area was known to the officer to be a high-prostitution area.
The GGPD officer began an initial investigation of the case and identified Jane Doe as both a missing person and a victim of human trafficking. Jane Doe was taken into protective custody and Garcia and Robinson were arrested at the scene.
This case was investigated by GGPD and Deputy District Attorney Daniel Varon of the HEAT Unit is prosecuting this case.
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff