Sex trafficker sentenced to 30 years in prison

October 14, 2008 4:25:07 PM PDT
A Middletown man was sentenced Tuesday to 30 years in prison for forcing women and young girls into a Hartford-area prostitution ring. U.S. District Judge Christopher Droney sentenced Dennis Paris, 36, at the low end of the range recommended in federal sentencing guidelines. A jury convicted Paris last year of crimes including sex trafficking and promoting prostitution. He could have faced life in prison.

Droney said it was one of the most sad and disheartening cases he has seen.

"We will never know how Mr. Paris constructed this hell for these girls," Droney said. "This was a vicious, brutal exploitation of young girls who may never recover."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Genco said Paris manipulated the girls into becoming prostitutes. Two girls testified that Paris assaulted them sexually and physically and used their heroin addiction to force them to do his bidding, prosecutors said.

He bought two other girls from another pimp, Brian Forbes, who is serving a 13-year sentence after pleading guilty in the case, prosecutors said.

"The fact is they felt like chattel," Genco said. "They were transferred for money. No human being should be treated like that."

Defense attorney Jeremiah Donovan, who argued for a 10-year sentence, said while his client was not innocent, he was not guilty of many of the allegations made by the girls and women. Donovan said the women were not victims but equal actors in the enterprise.

"These are women who live in the crime milieu," Donovan said.

"They knowingly and willingly chose this profession."

Paris was among 10 people arrested in the investigation.

He spoke for more than an hour at his sentencing, telling Droney he ran an escort service and did not require the women to have sex with the clients.

"I'm not the type of person they're trying to make me in this elaborate story," Paris said. "Punish me for what I did. Don't punish me for stories."

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