A man Dayton police call an “Internet pimp” was found guilty Thursday of crimes related to promoting prostitution. Police called it a rare conviction for a top-level person tied to online prostitution advertisements.
Kevin J. Barker, 50, of Dayton, was found guilty Thursday on all six counts by a jury of six men and six women in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court. The jury deliberated fewer than two hours.
“We were in uncharted waters on this one,” Dayton police vice Sgt. Chris Fischer said of the case.
Barker was convicted on one second-degree felony count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, two fourth-degree felony counts of promoting prostitution and three fifth-degree felony counts of possession of criminal tools. If he is sentenced to prison and gets time for each count, Barker could face between 4.5 and 14 years in prison.
Judge Barbara Gorman set sentencing for April 3. Wearing a suit and tie, Barker was handcuffed, had his electronic surveillance bond revoked and remanded into the custody of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.
Prosecuting attorney Kelly Madzey asked jurors not to let Barker insulate himself from the “dirty money tied to dirty deeds” since she said other employees answered the phones and sometimes transported women to hotels to meet clients.
“That’s the point of his organization, the way he set it up was to keep his hands as clean as possible and officers were able to catch the crime when it’s at the street level,” Madzey said. “But the people who are behind the scenes are harder to identify.”
Dayton police set up multiple sting operations to gather evidence against Barker, who posted ads on backpage.com and the now-defunct website peekaboodayton.com for adult entertainment. Multiple women who were connected with Barker’s business have been found guilty of soliciting. The operation led to an interview meeting between Barker and an undercover officer posing as a prospective employee.
“He was ready, willing and able to pimp”, Madzey said. “We’ll ask (the judge) to hold him accountable.”
According to police, Barker at one time had about 35 women working for him.
Authorities said Barker would get $80 and women would get $80 per call and that anything after that was negotiable. Police said Barker said his business at its height would get upwards of 50 calls and perhaps 100 text messages per day. Barker’s website was taken down the day a subpoena was served on his residence.
Defense attorney Thomas Manning told jurors that Barker did run an adult-oriented business but that this case was “what happens when the wrong conclusion is reached about the wrong person.”
Fischer credited Dayton police Det. Raymond St. Clair for the investigation which resulted in 55 pieces of evidence.
“It was just a solid case,” St. Clair said. “Chalk up one for human rights and women’s rights.”