A Little Rock man who admitted being a pimp and forcing a 17-year-old girl to engage in up to 25 sex acts a day for money was sentenced Thursday to 15½ years in federal prison.
Dana Royce Deffenbaugh, 36, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Leon Holmes in connection with Deffenbaugh’s Sept. 19 guilty plea to a charge of sex trafficking of a minor, which carried a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years. If he had gone to trial, Deffenbaugh faced an additional count of sex trafficking.
He was arrested in early 2015 after a friend of the girl’s family called North Little Rock police on the night of Dec. 28, 2014, to report that he believed she and several other girls were being held against their will at a North Little Rock motel. The family friend said he had gone to pick up the girl, and after she told him what was going on, she was too “terrified” to wait for police to arrive at the America’s Best Value Inn at 3100 Main St., so he took her to a Little Rock motel where her mother and sister were staying.
Police were able to interview the girl the next day and said she revealed she had been forced into prostitution under the threat of being injured or killed by a man she knew only as “Big Face.”
The girl told police that she had been introduced to the man about a month earlier by a female she met at a laundromat and that “Big Face” immediately told her, “you my ho” and “you work for me now,” according to testimony. Police said the girl also told them that “Big Face” supplied her with drugs, had sex with her and told her that she “does not exist no more.”
“Big Face” made it clear to the girl that if she tried to escape or refused to engage in prostitution and give all the money to him, she would be harmed, Holmes said in a pretrial ruling.
Last year, at a hearing before Holmes, an FBI agent testified that after North Little Rock police contacted her about the girl’s allegations, she searched the federal agency’s database and found several similar sex trafficking reports from across the country involving a man known as “Big Face.” The agent said she also found references to “Big Face” on Deffenbaugh’s Facebook page, where he was pictured with several girls.
The agent testified that she printed out some photos from the Facebook page and the girl later picked out Deffenbaugh as the man she knew as “Big Face.” The girl had earlier shown a picture of the man she had on her mobile phone to the North Little Rock officer.
According to earlier testimony, Deffenbaugh grew up in Aurora, Colo., but at some point moved to Little Rock, where he has some family members.
The FBI agent, Katie Rowbotham, testified in September that she had discovered an investigation was underway in Baltimore of a man matching the same “distinctive” description as Deffenbaugh: black, roughly 6 feet, 2 inches tall, about 200 pounds, with a slender build and “long straight hair with twists.”
Holmes said last year that a report from a pretrial services officer showed that Deffenbaugh had been “charged criminally in approximately sixty incidences in nine different states.”
Deffenbaugh was accused in the Arkansas indictment of transporting the 17-year-old and other girls and young women to motels in Little Rock and North Little Rock to have sex with an average of 15 male customers a day, and sometimes as many as 25 customers a day, often without giving the females a chance to sleep. The FBI said he advertised the women on the now-defunct website Backpage.com.
Deffenbaugh referred to himself as “Big Face” in reference to “big face hundred dollar bills,” the U.S. attorney’s office said Thursday.
“Sex trafficking is a problem throughout the United States,” Acting U.S. Attorney Patrick Harris said Thursday in a news release.
He added, “The exploitation of a minor causes irreparable harm that is lasting. Even though this sentence does not erase the pain that the defendant caused, it does send a strong message. There is no hesitation on our part to prosecute Deffenbaugh and criminals like him as vigorously as we can.”
In addition to the prison time, Holmes ordered Deffenbaugh to serve 10 years of supervised release, register as a sex offender, and participate in a program to deter domestic violence as well as undergo substance abuse treatment and mental health treatment.
While on supervised release, he is forbidden from placing any advertisements on the Internet or maintaining a Facebook page or similar social media presence without permission from the federal probation office.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Allison Bragg and Kristin Bryant, and Deffenbaugh was represented by Little Rock attorney Blake Hendrix.