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Blue Springs duo plead guilty to training 12-year-old dominatrix

Thursday, September 24, 2009 | 4:32 p.m. CDT

KANSAS CITY — A man and a woman accused of training the woman's 12-year-old daughter as a sexual dominatrix in Missouri and prostituting her online pleaded guilty Thursday in a deal that will send both to prison.

Todd Barkau, 37, and the girl's 45-year-old mother each pleaded guilty to one count of sex trafficking of a child after prosecutors agreed to drop other charges. Barkau will spend 25 years in prison without parole and the girl's mother will serve 15 years.

The two lived in Blue Springs, a Kansas City suburb, when Barkau began having sex with the girl in 2000 when she was 12, showing her how to perform sex acts with men. Prosecutors also said the girl was prostituted from January 2002 to February 2005, mainly through a Web site that claimed "Mistress Alisha" was 19 or 20.

Under the plea deal, Barkau and the girl's mother must forfeit the $80,000 they made from the abuse.

Barkau, appearing in an orange jumpsuit with his hands shackled in front of him, acknowledged during Thursday's hearing in U.S. District Court that he used pornography to teach the girl and watched while others had sex with her. He also admitted producing and selling access to video of the girl's sex acts.

"We hope that a 25-year sentence will serve as a life sentence to him," Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Cordes said, citing Barkau's past heart attacks and stroke.

The girl's mother, whose voice seemed emotionless as she entered her plea, admitted that she knew what was going on and profited from her daughter's abuse. She showed little reaction in the Kansas City courtroom when her daughter, now 22, told the judge that she supported the plea deals.

Cordes told Judge Nanette Laughrey that the victim didn't want to go through details of her abuse again at trial. Barkau and the girl's mother originally pleaded not guilty last year to seven counts and could have faced life in prison if convicted.

The Associated Press generally doesn't name alleged victims of sexual crimes and isn't naming the mother to protect the identity of her daughter.

Prosecutors said it was the first case they handled in which a parent was charged in the commercial sex trafficking of his or her own minor child.

A formal sentencing hearing hasn't been set, though the judge can't deviate from the agreement under terms of the plea deal. The woman had been on house arrest for the past year-and-a-half but was taken into custody Thursday after entering her plea.

 


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