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Vancouver man sentenced to 8 years in sex trafficking case

Teen girls met at mall in Vancouver taken to Oregon

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor
Published:

A Vancouver man was sentenced Tuesday to more than eight years in federal prison for facilitating and benefiting from the sex trafficking of children.

Keonte Desmond Scott, 24, pleaded guilty Dec. 9 in Portland to two counts of sex trafficking. In addition to his 97-month prison sentence, he will serve five years of supervised release, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Oregon.

In 2016, after he was released from prison, Scott met and befriended Johnl Jackson, 34, of Vancouver. Jackson sold Scott cocaine and began coaching him in commercial sex trafficking. Later that year, Scott began a relationship with Diana Petrovic, 23, of Vancouver. Jackson helped Scott traffic Petrovic, and they used her to recruit and traffic girls, the news release states, citing court records and trial testimony.

By early 2019, several girls reported to law enforcement they had been trafficked by Scott and Petrovic, the news release states.

Authorities learned of two teen girls, then 14 and 15 years old, who ran away from their homes in Lane County, Ore., and were introduced to Scott and Petrovic at a mall in Vancouver. Petrovic took the girls to a home they believed was Jackson’s and gave them drugs and alcohol. Scott and Petrovic then took the girls to Portland, where they were sold for sex. The girls eventually got away and returned home, the news release says.

After Scott returned to prison, Petrovic worked with Jackson to traffic minors, including the girls from Lane County, throughout the summer of 2018, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

A federal grand jury in Portland returned a six-count indictment May 8, 2019, charging Scott, Petrovic and a third alleged accomplice, Evan Blake Barajas, 24, of Vancouver, with sex trafficking of children and transporting minors with intent to engage in sexual activity. A fourth alleged accomplice, Jamil Timpke-Rhoades, 23, of Vancouver, was added as a co-defendant by superseding indictment Dec. 4, 2019. Barajas and Timpke-Rhoades are in custody pending a jury trial scheduled to begin July 19, the news release states.

In a separate criminal case, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a three-count indictment Oct. 9, 2019, charging Jackson and Petrovic with sex trafficking of a child by force, fraud and coercion; sex trafficking of a child; and transportation of a minor with intent to engage in sexual activity. Then, in December 2019, Jackson and Petrovic were charged by superseding indictment with conspiring to engage in sex trafficking of children; sex trafficking of a child; sex trafficking of a child by force, fraud and coercion; and transporting a minor with intent to engage in sexual activity, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

On July 22, 2020, Petrovic was charged by superseding criminal information with and pleaded guilty to distribution of controlled substances to persons under 21. She will be sentenced April 3. Jackson was convicted at trial March 11 of one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking; three counts of sex trafficking of a child; two counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion; and three counts of transportation of a minor with intent to engage in sexual activity. He will be sentenced July 25, the news release says.

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