One of the co-creators of San Diego-based GirlsDoPorn.com pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking.
Matthew Isaac Wolfe admitted to his role in what prosecutors say was a scheme to coerce numerous women to appear in pornographic videos under false pretenses. Prosecutors allege the website owners and operators led women to believe the videos they appeared in would be distributed only to private customers living outside of the country, rather than proliferated online, despite always intending to post the videos on the internet.
Wolfe’s plea leaves website co-owner Michael James Pratt as the final defendant to face a judge in the case.
Pratt, a New Zealand native, remains on the lam. Last year, the FBI said it was offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. Special Agent William McNamara of the FBI’s San Diego field office said last October, “We know there are people that are helping Pratt” and “We believe he is likely still victimizing others.”
Others prosecuted include porn actor Ruben Andre Garcia, who pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Videographer Theodore Gyi and administrative assistant Valorie Moser have also pleaded guilty and await sentencing.
The website and its operators were also sued by 22 women featured in its videos, and a San Diego judge awarded the women nearly $13 million at the end of a civil trial.
Ed Chapin, one of the attorneys who represented the women in the civil case, said Wolfe’s plea was “another step towards closure and hopefully (the victims) will be able to put this behind them and move on with their lives.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says that once videos were posted to the GirlsDoPorn and GirlsDoToys websites, they were then re-posted on free porn sites such as Pornhub.com, where prosecutors say they received millions of views.
If the women ever changed their minds about filming or completing the scenes, the defendants threatened to sue them, cancel their flights home or post footage that had already been filmed online, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Other victims were physically prevented from leaving the San Diego hotel rooms or short-term rental units where the scenes were filmed, often with defendants barricading the doors with cameras or recording equipment, prosecutors said.
Once the women discovered their videos were posted online, the website owners ignored requests to take the videos down and cut contact with the women altogether.
U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino, who is expected to sentence Wolfe later this year, ruled in December that the rights to videos and images produced in the case should be awarded to the victims.
–City News Service, Inc.