California woman sentenced for sex-trafficking teen girls

August 30, 2022 GMT

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A California woman who recruited three teenage girls for prostitution, plying them with alcohol and drugs while advertising them online for sex acts, was sentenced Monday to 17 years and seven months in federal prison.

Dawniel Santangelo, 44, of Stockton, recruited the girls, ages 15, 16 and 17, for prostitution in Northern California and Southern Oregon between September 2018 and May 2019, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Santangelo “enticed the girls to perform sex acts for strangers by providing alcohol, drugs, and creating a party atmosphere in motels in Stockton and Salinas. She then posted online prostitution ads depicting the victims and brought the victims to truck stops and motels to have sex with men for money” that she and a co-defendant took, the statement said.

“After the victims began engaging in commercial sex acts, Santangelo urged them to continue, reassuring them when they felt insecure,” the statement said.

ADVERTISEMENT

The scheme ended in May 2019 when a 15-year-old runaway whom Santangelo had recruited from the Modesto area called her family for help and police found her, Santangelo and Lucious James Roy, 34, in a Medford, Oregon motel room, prosecutors said.

Santangelo was sentenced for conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of a child, three counts of sex trafficking a child and transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

Last year, Roy was sentenced to 17 years and seven months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of a child.