For much of her life, Laura Evet Lambden was the victim. Domestic partners had beaten her so badly she lost all her teeth, she said. Twice, brutal assaults sent her to the hospital. “A lot of times,” she told a federal judge in Portland on Monday, she just didn’t go.
But at age 58, the Vancouver woman became the victimizer. Hooked on heroin and engaging in sex acts for money herself, Lambden admitted prostituting a 13-year-old girl to a man in Oregon City and another in Vancouver.
On Monday, Lambden was sentenced to four years in federal prison after pleading to transporting a person in interstate commerce for prostitution. Senior U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones accepted the sentence jointly recommended by the prosecutor and defense, and he imposed a five-year sentence of supervised release after the 60-year-old is released from prison.
In remarks before sentencing, Jones noted that Lambden’s actions marked a sharp departure for her. The former Maryland resident had lived a crime-free life up until two years ago, he said. She had built a food-service business of delivering meals to retirement homes and provided food through the Meals on Wheels program to needy seniors.
But battling back pain, she developed an oxycodone habit. After retiring and moving to Vancouver to be close to family, a family member introduced her to heroin, she said. Desperate to finance her addiction, she engaged in sex acts for money with a few men she knew, she told Jones.
Soon, she persuaded a 13-year-old, whom she said she met through her grandkids, to prostitute herself and live with her. The girl, now 15, said at the hearing that she lived with Lambden for about three months and Lambden kept the proceeds of her prostitution. Under questioning from Lambden’s court-appointed attorney, Lynne Morgan, the girl disputed Lambden’s claims that she had lied about her age or that she had previously prostituted herself.
“She just made me feel dirty,” the victim said. “I think about all the stuff I went through. It makes me sad because I was just 13 years old.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacie Beckerman said the government was seeking dismissal of a charge of sex trafficking of a minor, which carries a 10-year mandatory minimum, because Lambden came forward during the investigation into the September 2012 Oregon City incident and because of her background.
“I’m truly, sincerely sorry for any harm I may have caused the victim,” Lambden said. “I am sorry I committed this crime.”
Jones told Lambden she has an opportunity to change her path. “You’re going to get your health back,” he said. “You’re going to get back to being the good person you were.”
Co-defendant Ben Allen Riggs, the 63-year-old Oregon City man who paid for sex with the victim, is scheduled to be sentenced later this month. He pleaded guilty in May to causing a person to be transported in interstate commerce for prostitution.