South Bay News

Only On 7: Mental health counselor faces trafficking charges

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A public youth counselor in San Jose is now under federal indictment for sex trafficking. A man whose job is to help teenagers is accused of taking advantage of them in a ruthless way. Police say he, and his partner in crime, used his position to lure teenagers out on the streets to work as prostitutes.

This started out as a San Jose police investigation, but as they gathered more evidence, they turned it over to federal authorities who then charged the two men with sex trafficking of minors. Police rescued two young teenagers, but they fear there may be more young victims because of the men was a mental health counselor who may have persuaded other young victims to work the streets for him.

Justin Crutchfield was arrested in June after a sting operation by San Jose police at Fourth and Taylor streets. Demontae Toliver was taken into custody a few weeks ago. Investigators say they met the two girls in Downtown San Jose.

San Jose Police Sgt. Kyle Oki says the 15 and 17-year-old teens were extremely vulnerable. He told us, "These two individuals came from a group home. So as they ran away from the group home, they put them into that vulnerable position."

Sgt. Oki says Crutchfield worked for the Santa Clara Valley Mental Health Department as a peer counselor for minors and young adults. He says Crutchfield used his position to gain their trust, even giving them his business card.

"He would use it for the fact that he knew how to talk to the young kids and how to deal with them, and pretty much present information to them that they wanted to hear. He put out that he was there to help them and he's helped kids like them in the past," said Oki.

Police say the two men convinced their victims they could make money together through prostitution. The girls ended up selling their bodies at busy thoroughfares like Alum Rock and 31st Street and advertising through the Internet on sites like My Red Book.

Our calls to the Santa Clara Valley Department of Mental Health were not returned.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
san jose, santa clara county, sex crimes, crime, south bay news, vic lee
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