Hemet man sentenced to 40 years for sex trafficking

L■ Halima Haider / Editorial Assistant
uther Gene Ray, 33, of Hemet was sentenced to 40 years in prison on Wednesday, Feb. 22, for sex trafficking a 16-year-old girl in 2014. Ray, also known as “Pumpkin,” was found guilty in 2015 of federal charges of sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion and committing a felony involving a minor as a registered sex offender, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.
U.S. Attorney’s Office officials say the minor was a runaway girl who had met him at a store in the San Diego area within a month of his release from federal prison. Ray was previously convicted for sex trafficking a minor by force in 2007 and had been required to register as a sex offender.
Officials say that evidence presented at the 2015 trial showed that Ray received thousands of dollars from the victim and at least three other women who worked for him as prostitutes. Ray was also known to brag about his pimping endeavors and lifestyle on Facebook. The 16-year-old victim linked to the case testified that Ray personally assaulted her and other women if they even looked at another man who might be a pimp. The case was investigated by both the San Diego Police Department and FBI. Authorities say they learned about Ray’s illegal activity when the teen called police.

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