Attorney General Patton's Office Obtains Conviction, 55-Year Prison Sentence in Sex Trafficking Case Involving Underage and Adult Victims
AUSTIN, Texas -- Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office today announced that a jury found 41-year-old Steven Charles Sumlin guilty on the charge of continuous trafficking of persons, a first-degree felony, for the sex trafficking of a 16-year-old girl and a 22-year-old woman. He was sentenced to 55 years in prison.
Section Chief Kirsta Melton and Assistant Attorney General Mallory Vincent with the attorney general’s Human Trafficking and Transnational Organized Crime section prosecuted the case for the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office.
“There is no place for sex trafficking in Texas,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Those who take advantage of vulnerable citizens will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I am grateful to our office’s prosecutors, the Bexar County DA’s office, local law enforcement and involved citizens for their efforts on this case. Thankfully, a dangerous criminal has been brought to justice.”
Last year, Sumlin was with his underage victim at a San Antonio gym when alert employees recognized her from a missing person poster and called police. During Sumlin’s trial, evidence showed that he recruited the girl online after she ran away from home, sexually assaulted her, and coerced her into sex trafficking.
In 2015, Sumlin was arrested for aggravated promotion of prostitution as the head of a prostitution ring that was operating in San Antonio, Austin and Dallas.
Attorney General Paxton has made combating human trafficking a top priority. Two years ago, he launched his office’s Human Trafficking and Transnational/Organized Crime section, which prosecutes human traffickers across the state. In April, the section’s prosecution of Backpage.com resulted in the company pleading guilty to human trafficking in Texas and its CEO, Carl Ferrer, pleading guilty to money laundering. The attorney general’s office also assisted the U.S. Department of Justice with permanently shutting down the website, which was considered the largest online sex trafficking marketplace in the world.
In January, Attorney General Paxton unveiled a powerful training video to teach Texans how to spot and report suspected human trafficking activity. “Be the One in the Fight Against Human Trafficking” is available for viewing online at https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/human-trafficking.