His reign of terror which operated Internationally including Australia, the Mid-East and the United States finally came to an end when Miami Federal District Judge Cecilia Altonaga sentenced Jamaican born Damion St. Patrick Baston to twenty-seven years in federal prison.
For years, the smoothing talking former nightclub dancer enticed women into a life of prostitution that spanned numerous continents by making them believe he was a hip hop music producer, later bragging to them that he was a member of Bloods, the violent West Coast street gang based out of Los Angeles. Once under his influence he repeatedly raped them and used tactics of verbal abuse, threats to their family and savage beatings to keep them under his control.
It appears that his venture into the sex for sale and sex trafficking trade began around the time he married an 18-year-old woman of Australian descent only identified as TJM on Queensland’s Gold Coast in an Islamic ceremony. He met her at a party in 2009 and married her the following year. She would be one of many women from outside the borders of the United States to testify against him.
According to court testimony his next Australian victim, identified as KL met him in a restaurant also on the Gold Coast. He told her he was a music producer seeking talent from Australia. After beginning a passionate relationship with her he let her believe that he was interested in opening a new restaurant and would let her in on the action but instead, as he did with his first conquest he threatened her and used acts of violence to bully her into working for him as a prostitute. He posted her pictures in local newspapers offering escort services as well as on the Internet along with her contact information using known “escort service” Web sites. He drove her to “dates” and kept all the proceeds she earned. He also opened a strip club called the Bachelors Club that KL was listed as owner/operator. According to Baston’s testimony she kept the books and he split all profits from the venture with her. KL denied his statement and testified that she only allowed him to use her name because she was in fear of him due to him threatening to hurt her and her family.
By 2011 he was peddling both women out of various rented dwellings on the Gold Coast and flew to Dubai with KL and the woman from New Zealand where he did the same in that middle-eastern country. He reentered the United States and settled in South Florida in 2012 with two of the women.
Six women in total of which three were flown in by the prosecution testified against him including three Americans, two Australians, one from Lithuania and one New Zealander. All six of the women testified that he forced them to work as strippers in Australia, in Dubai and South Florida and then coerced them into working for his various escort services.
This past June at trial, a federal jury of twelve, including Baston’s ex-wife heard testimony of how he forced them into a life as sex slaves and prostitution after beating and raping them.
Evidence presented in court disclosed that Baston was convicted of possessing stolen property in the late 1990s. That conviction led to an order to deport him to his native Jamaica by a U.S. immigration judge. During his own testimony he denied the deportation and said it was a “touchy subject.” He first turned up in Australia in 2009 under a stolen identity of a man that lived in Iowa. He used the passport and identification cards of a man named Rayshawn Bryant who was the victim of the identity theft.
In addition to the oral testimony, a transcript of a recorded conversation between Baston and the woman from New Zealand (flown in by the prosecution) identified as GP was heard by the jury which was made up of five men and seven women. In addition to the transcript, when making her original complaint she told the New South Wales Police Department that at one point in 2010 Baston hung her upside down, from a fire escape by her feet while he verbally abused and threatened her. She also testified that he forced her into a shower with scorching hot water running and wouldn’t let her out for hours as he beat her without mercy. The female detective that took GP’s statement testified that she was the most terrified victim she had ever interviewed throughout her twenty-five year career, most recently working for the sexual battery division.
One of the South Florida women testified how he ruined her life by getting her pregnant. She also disclosed that she subsequently had given birth to his child.
The twenty-one charges against him included importation of an alien for prostitution, sex trafficking by force, coercion and fraud, transportation for prostitution, money laundering and aggravated identity theft.
When Baston took the stand he told a completely different story. He said he was educated in New York City studying for the fashion industry, became a master in karate and weight lifter. He then worked as a dancer in nightclubs before becoming a talent agent in the music business. He said that he never forced or intimidated any of his numerous girlfriends into prostitution or his escort services, and never took their money.
“I am not a pimp… I was always nice and kind… It was love. It was romantic. It was fun.”
The presiding federal judge didn’t buy his story.
The arrest and conviction came as a result of a joint effort among Australian and United Arab Emirates law enforcement agencies along with United States federal authorities that stemmed from a 2008 law to combat international sex trafficking.
The mandatory minimum sentence for the self-described entrepreneur’s crimes was fifteen years in federal prison.
Declaring that a “sentence of life (in prison) would not provide just punishment,” Miami Federal District Judge Cecilia Altonaga sentenced Baston to twenty-seven years in federal prison. The reason given by the judge for what would appear to be a light sentence based on testimony that convicted him at trial was only that nobody was killed by his actions.
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