A St. Paul man forced a Forest Lake girl into prostitution after her mother kicked her out of the house, according to criminal charges filed Monday in Washington County.
Damon Michael DiMartino, 40, was charged with promoting prostitution of an individual, a felony.
The charges came less than a week after County Attorney Pete Orput announced that a coalition of prosecutors, law enforcement officers and victim advocates are working together to more effectively investigate and prosecute sex traffickers.
"We pledged last week to come down hard on those individuals who traffic our youth and rob them of their innocence," Orput said Monday. "I sincerely hope that those traffickers will hear this message and know that Washington County carries a big stick."
According to the criminal complaint:
The girl, 17, told police that in June, after a dispute with her mother, she began living with friends.
She met DiMartino at a party and began seeing herself as his "property" after he began supplying her with drugs and alcohol.
She began stripping on party buses and later, performing "tricks," on DiMartino's orders.
He charged her a $150 "service fee" for each encounter. He also told the girl she was "really good" because she was the newest and youngest of six or seven girls working for him.
The girl told investigators she had paid sex with numerous men, often while she was under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
DiMartino also allegedly forced her to distribute drugs he had sold to clients at parties "so that he was not found in possession of them," she said.
In one case, a client identified in the charging complaint as "John 1" paid the girl $250 for sex acts in a St. Paul hotel, but DiMartino took $210 of that sum, she said.
The girl was fearful of identifying DiMartino, but after Forest Lake police showed her a photo of DiMartino, she alleged he was her pimp, the charges said.
DiMartino has two convictions for criminal sexual conduct, one in 1999 and one in 2013, and is on probation in Ramsey County for the most recent charge.
Washington County now has three active underage prostitution cases, Orput said.
DiMartino is being held in the Washington County jail. Bail was set at $500,000. He will make his initial court appearance before Judge John C. Hoffman on Dec. 7.