Woman gets 2 years for being accomplice to prostitution of teens

She avoids longer sentence by cooperating with police

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

Published:

 

A 27-year-old Vancouver woman was sentenced Wednesday to more than two years in prison for serving as an accomplice in the prostitution of two underage girls.

Kelsey L. Vestal avoided a significantly longer sentence by cooperating with law enforcement in the investigation of her accomplice, Ricky D. Horn, 18, who was the mastermind of the prostitution scheme, said Clark County Deputy Prosecutor Randy St. Clair.

St. Clair and Vestal's attorney, Louis Byrd Jr., struck a plea bargain in which Vestal pleaded guilty to first-degree promoting prostitution. The deal allowed Vestal to avoid a more serious conviction of promoting commercial sex abuse of a minor, which would have required her to register as a sex offender.

Superior Court Judge David Gregerson sentenced her to a total of 27 months, the maximum under the state standard range for first-degree promoting prostitution.

Horn pleaded guilty Aug. 9 to promoting commercial sex abuse of a minor and will be sentenced today by Superior Court Judge Robert Lewis. He faces up to several years in prison.

Gregerson asked Vestal whether she had any children. She said she has three daughters, ages 2, 5 and 6.

"I'd love to be able to be a mom to them," she said. "… to be a role model to them."

Girl threatened

The victims in the case were a 14-year-old girl from Vancouver and a 15-year-old girl from Tacoma.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed in court, they posted photos of the 14-year-old in her underwear on Backpage.com. They took her to meet johns about 15 times at the Days Inn at 9107 N.E. Vancouver Mall Drive. In most cases, under their direction, she robbed the johns of their money and ran. But on two occasions, she had sex with the johns.

The affidavit said that Vestal threatened the girl that if she didn't comply, she would regret it.

The arrests of Horn on April 28 and Vestal on May 13 came after seven months of investigation by Vancouver police detectives with the Digital Evidence and Cybercrime Unit.

Paris Achen: 360-735-4551; http://twitter.com/Col_Courts; http://facebook.com/ColTrends; paris.achen@columbian.com