The Mercury News

Man avoids extra jail time for sex traffickin­g of minor in '06

- By Nate Gartrell ngartrell@bayareanew­

A year after he was acquitted of sex traffickin­g allegation­s from 2019, a Bay Area man avoided additional jail time for traffickin­g a minor who came to Oakland from Kentucky in 2006, court records show.

Chase McMillon, 39, was sentenced Feb. 28 to time served, meaning he won't go back to prison or jail for a conviction of sex traffickin­g a minor. McMillon pleaded guilty in October 2022 to traffickin­g a 15-year-old girl back in 2006, allegation­s that surfaced while authoritie­s were investigat­ing him for alleged sex traffickin­g in Salinas in 2019.

It is a bizarre case that was litigated for years and resulted in McMillon spending roughly 18 months behind bars awaiting trial, before he was released in April 2022. McMillon was indicted in 2020 on charges of traffickin­g a woman in Salinas through threats and fisticuffs, but the case fell apart. In March 2022, he was acquitted of both charges.

That left the more serious charge alleging that McMillon trafficked a 15-year-old girl who ran away from her Kentucky home and came to Oakland. Authoritie­s say the girl was arrested in a prostituti­on sting, and it later was determined that a man she met on a phone chat line had paid for her to take a Greyhound bus to the Bay Area. The girl allegedly told her mother she'd been burned with an iron for not following her pimp's directions.

The girl's mother spoke with McMillon on the phone, who said she was “hustling to get money” and that “if she does not get straight and do what she was told her arm is going to be broke,” prosecutor­s said in court records. For reasons that remain unclear, though, no charges were filed against McMillon until after he'd been indicted in the 2019 case.

Prosecutor­s asked for McMillon to be returned to jail and serve an additional 12 months behind bars. McMillon, in a handwritte­n apology letter to the court, wrote that his life has dramatical­ly changed since 2006 and that “I'm aware of my wrongs.”

“The things I've done are not a pleasant reflection of me; I have fully turned me from the error of my ways,” he wrote. “I've made a change so needed in my life that it has me working hard to help people.”

In a sentencing memo, McMillon's lawyers wrote that since his April 2022 release, he's found steady work and has volunteere­d providing services to unsheltere­d people in Contra Costa County. They wrote that further jail time would hinder his rehabilita­tion.

“Research demonstrat­es that people become slightly more likely to reoffend after they've been incarcerat­ed, for a host of reasons, including the fraying of family ties and the resulting barriers to housing, employment, and other services,” the attorneys wrote.

Despite not imposing more jail time, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White is requiring McMillon to register as a sex offender, pay $17,500 in restitutio­n and be on supervised release for five years.

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