Convicted sex trafficker Antonio D. Washington-Davis was sentenced Thursday to 36 years in prison, the longest term handed down in Minnesota for such crimes, according to the Ramsey County attorney’s office.
A jury convicted Washington-Davis, 27, in November of three counts of second-degree promotion of prostitution and one count each of first-degree solicitation to practice prostitution, second-degree solicitation to practice prostitution and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking.
“This lengthy sentence today sends an important message to all victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking in our community,” County Attorney John Choi said in a statement. “We are with you, and we will not allow for the sexual exploitation and trafficking of women and girls in our community.”
The sentence was handed down by District Judge Rosanne Nathanson.
Assistant Ramsey County Attorneys Karen Kugler and David Pinto said at trial that Washington-Davis targeted vulnerable young girls and women, groomed them by lavishing them with attention and gifts and then forced them into prostitution. He used violence and intimidation, they said.
One victim testified that Washington-Davis drove her to Ely, Minn., to prostitute herself and that he choked her.
Washington-Davis’ attorney, Nicole Kubista, argued that her client was born into a family of criminals and that they are the true culprits.
Washington-Davis was charged earlier this year along with his brother, Otis D. Washington, and two uncles for trafficking vulnerable woman and girls over a two-year period, placing hundreds of ads on the website Backpage.com. Police believe the St. Paul family operated a sex-trafficking ring for several years.
Otis D. Washington was convicted at trial and is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 9.
The men’s uncles pleaded guilty and have been sentenced. Washington-Davis’ ex-girlfriend was initially charged, but the case against her was recently dropped because prosecutors felt she was a victim, not a perpetrator.