Kirkland man found guilty of promoting prostitution in Eastside sex trafficking ring

Kirkland man found guilty of promoting prostitution in Eastside sex trafficking ring

Authorities say suspect ran “successful enterprise” for greater half of a decade.

A Kirkland man was found guilty June 26 of promoting prostitution on the Eastside for the better part of the last decade.

Charging documents state that Todd Steven McKennon ran a “successful” sex trafficking enterprise where he brought women in under the guise of other jobs and forced them into servitude. One such survivor of McKennon’s calls him “Mr. Kirkland” to reflect his status of running this illegal business with seeming impunity on the Eastside.

A judge sentenced McKennon to just over six years in prison, along with no contact with the victims for at least 10 years and mandatory attendance of a “stop sexual exploitation” program through Seattle Against Slavery. McKennon was charged with attempted leading of organized crime, promoting prostitution in the first and second degree, and domestic violence allegations.

The following is from initial charging documents from the prosecuting attorney:

Using the cover of the internet, hotel rooms and an upscale apartment in downtown Kirkland, McKennon promoted at least 10 women as “escorts” and charged $400 to $500 an hour for their time. The defendant recruited women through ruses, manipulation and in at least one instance, violence. McKennon sought women who were in desperate need or employment, struggled with substance abuse, or lacked self-esteem and sought the attention of older men, based on interviews with the survivors.

One woman met him through Craigslist, where his ad implied he was a woman. When they met in person, he claimed to be a photographer from a private agency and soon started trafficking her in Washington, California, Nevada and Hawaii. She was making $2,000 a day, giving 40% of her earnings to McKennon. When their relationship became intimate and they started dating, he made her pay 50% to him, and also had her pay rent for their shared apartment.

In a recorded interview with FBI in September 2017, the survivor said that she had no freedom and that McKennon “thinks he owns me, treats me like property, and if he wants me to work, then I work.” She had to ask permission to use the restroom, use social media or contact family and friends. He also made her wear inappropriate clothing in public. Breaking his rules led to him physically assaulting her multiple times, she reported, providing photos of visible bruises on her face.

Before she came forward, another woman who was trafficked had reported McKennon to the Kirkland Police Department in 2014. She told officers she was trying to get out of the situation and explained a similar arrangement of giving the defendant a cut of the earnings. Another victim in 2019 came forward with being trafficked and described how McKennon was extremely manipulative and preyed upon her insecurities to rope her in. This woman had worked with him since 2013, and said she knew she needed to leave when she became pregnant and McKennon made her work against her wishes.

A search of residences related to McKennon found over $21,000, multiple electronic devices, bank statements and cocaine.




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