Crime

Man sentenced to more than 60 years for prostituting Los Osos teen

Richard Scott Brooks, left, stands with his lawyer, Matthew Guerrero, during Brooks’ sentencing for human trafficking. He was sentenced Tuesday to 61 years and eight months to life in prison for his crimes involving a teenager from Los Osos he met on Craigslist.
Richard Scott Brooks, left, stands with his lawyer, Matthew Guerrero, during Brooks’ sentencing for human trafficking. He was sentenced Tuesday to 61 years and eight months to life in prison for his crimes involving a teenager from Los Osos he met on Craigslist. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

A man found guilty of prostituting a teenager he met through Craigslist defiantly maintained his innocence Tuesday before he was sentenced to more than 60 years in prison.

“It never was a fair trial, from beginning to end,” said Richard Scott Brooks, 40, of San Francisco.

Brooks was convicted by a jury in November of numerous felonies, including human trafficking of a minor for sex, forcible rape, pimping and sodomy.

In July 2014, according to trial testimony, he met a Los Osos girl who had turned 17 a month earlier through an ad he had posted on Craigslist. While the girl’s mother and younger sister were out of state, she drove to the Bay Area to pick up Brooks and bring him back to her home, where they had sexual relations over a four-day span. Brooks also prostituted her out to another man, according to witnesses at trial.

During the trial, Brooks called the girl a “black widow” and said she initially presented herself as an 18-year-old who wanted to have sex with him and other men. During his sentencing, Brooks remained unapologetic, insisting evidence that could have helped him was not admitted in court.

“There’s two boxes full of discovery that was never allowed to be admitted at trial,” he said. “And when I tried to talk about it, I was admonished, several times, actually.”

Defendant is a parasitic individual who preys on young children.

Deputy District Attorney Greg Devitt

On the stand, the victim testified that she wanted someone who was dominant, and she said she enjoyed some of the sexual encounters with Brooks. But she also said she felt threatened by Brooks and believed she had to do what he said. According to trial testimony, Brooks supplied her with alcohol and had sex with her after she had passed out.

Deputy District Attorney Greg Devitt said Brooks took advantage of a young person, as proven by videos he took of their encounters and Craigslist postings he made afterward.

“Defendant is a parasitic individual who preys on young children,” Devitt said.

Brooks has a previous conviction in New York for possession of child pornography.

Superior Court Judge Rita Federman noted that January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. This case, she added, demonstrates that human trafficking is not just a crime that occurs in faraway places.

She sentenced Brooks to 61 years and eight months to life in prison.

The sentencing sets the stage for the next phase of the case: Jury selection is slated to begin Monday for the trial of Oscar Higueros, 39, of Cayucos, who allegedly paid Brooks $150 to have sex with the teen. After that encounter, the teen allegedly moved in with Higueros and became his sex slave, according to previous court testimony. During the Higueros trial, the teen is expected to testify again, along with seven other women who claim Higueros sexually assaulted them.

Higueros, who was a paid volunteer captain with the Cayucos Fire Department, has pleaded not guilty.

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