• Fri. Sep 23rd, 2022

King County sued for lack of protection during trafficking investigation

ByJanice K. Merrill

Jan 20, 2022

SEATTLE — A woman is suing King County, claiming that as a teenage runaway decades ago, sheriff’s deputies investigating a prostitution ring knew she and others were being trafficked, but did not “take the slightest care” to protect her.

The lawsuit instead says the deputies continued a secret investigation for months before authorities sought to arrest and charge Michael Larry Landry and Rochelle King with encouraging prostitution in 1994, the Seattle Times reported.

Meanwhile, the woman – identified in court documents as RM – alleges she remained captive, beaten and raped at The Golden Touch massage business and through escort services until she escapes from the couple’s Bellevue home.

A spokesman for King County District Attorney Dan Satterberg said Friday the office was not notified of the lawsuit and deferred comments to the sheriff’s office. A spokesperson for Acting King County Sheriff Patti Cole-Tindall said the sheriff’s office was “unable to comment on ongoing litigation.”

RM is the second woman to recently sue King County for the sheriff’s deputies’ handling of the late 1992 to mid-1994 undercover investigation into Landry and King’s prostitution business, which was primarily operated by massage companies and escort services.

Last year, the county agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle the lawsuit of a woman identified as MT, who as a teenager in 1993 was dropped off at the Golden Touch by an undercover detective, records show. Landry and King then forced MT into prostitution.