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Forest Lake pimp sentenced to 20 years

Damon Michael DiMartino

A Forest Lake man was sentenced to 20 years in state prison for first-degree sex trafficking.

Damon Michael DiMartino, 41, of St. Paul pleaded guilty in June, and on Friday, District Court Judge John R. McBride handed down the sentencing—the maximum allowable by state statute.

"You are a pimp. You are a predator," McBride said in court. "You prey on the most vulnerable in our community."

Evidence showed 13 different instances of pimping between July 12 and Oct. 16, 2015, in North Branch, Minneapolis, Mille Lacs, Prior Lake, St. Paul and Forest Lake.

Court documents alleged that one of the two St. Paul incidents also involved sexual contact with a minor.

DiMartino received 344 days credit for time served, and he was committed to the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud.

The major crimes unit of the Washington County Attorney's Office, including prosecutors Imran Ali and Jessica Hockley, cooperated with Forest Lake, St. Paul and Minneapolis police departments.

"Sex trafficking of minor is prevalent in all communities," County Attorney Pete Orput said in a press release Monday. "This office has made this issue a priority. We are grateful that the court in this case gave voice to the public safety dangers sex trafficking has become. This case illustrates the importance of inter-county and inter-departmental cooperation of law enforcement agencies."

According to the criminal complaint:

Forest Lake Police Department responded to a domestic disturbance call involving loud yelling at 7:51 p.m. Oct. 14 in the 400 block of Lake St. S. in Forest Lake. While police investigated, a 17-year-old girl, who has since turned 18 years old, was extremely upset with her mother and said she was involved with prostitution to support herself.

In June 2015 the girl had been kicked out of her mother's home and was living with friends.

One night, after the clubs closed, she went to an after-party near the Loft nightclub, somewhere in Minneapolis or St. Paul, and met a man nicknamed "D."

She asked him to lend her money, and he said she had to work for it.

In interviews with police, the girl called DiMartino her pimp. The man collects money for her services and she gets a cut of the profits. He also gave her alcohol and drugs prior to sexual encounters because she gets "anxious," she said.

The girl believed she was DiMartino's property.

She admitted to stripping on party buses at the man's direction. After a week of stripping, she began performing sexual acts during the parties.

The victim said she believed he had a half dozen girls working for him.

DiMartino charged the Forest Lake girl $150 service fee for each encounter, for arranging the jobs and providing security.

She typically set her own prices, but DiMartino took 50 to 75 percent of what she made. He began calling her his "No. 1" because she was the youngest of the girls and he liked her the most. They had sex on multiple occasions, as well as having sex with others at his direction on multiple occasions.

On Oct. 14, DiMartino picked up the girl at her home in Forest Lake, took her to a Best Western in the 100 block of Anthony Ave. in St. Paul. After three shots of Absolut peach vodka and a Kinky Cocktails, she was paid $250 for sexual acts with a man she met in the hotel restaurant. DiMartino bought her the alcohol, introduced her to the man, and waited in the restaurant while the victim was alone with the man. DiMartino received $40 from the victim.

DiMartino drove the victim to a party that night. Another man asked him how much it would cost to have sex with the girl. She did not know the agreed-upon price, but she received $40 for sex with the man.

Cell phone data also showed evidence of DiMartino soliciting and promoting the girl's prostitution.

"There is a party bus on Saturday that needs strippers you interested?" one Aug. 20 text said.

On Aug. 21, DiMartino text: "Are you willing to go full service?" He also texted to ask if the girl would perform sex acts with five to 10 men for $50 each.

On Aug. 23, the girl told DiMartino she had stripped on a party bus. He responded via text: "other people never know how to tell our business thats why we dont tell them. You endangered me and my business I will have to make a decision."

On Aug. 27, DiMartino advised the girl to start taking birth control "so you don't get pregnant fool" and to get the "day-after pill" after they had had sex.

The complaint suggests DiMartino knew the girl's age.

He text messaged her about no longer purchasing her cigarettes, stating "your still a kid" and "I would be robbing you of your innocence."

DiMartino also sells drugs, and the victim's role was to distribute drugs so that the man would not be found in possession of them.

Police asked if she had ever been harmed while prostituting for the defendant. She had been punched and slapped during various prostitution acts and that if she ever did anything wrong "there would be consequences," she said. DiMartino likes to have "angry sex," putting his hands around his partner's neck, the victim said. After she threatened to leave the situation, DiMartino told her "he was going to get me," she said.