SACRAMENTO—A Sacramento man and woman in their 20s were arrested last week on charges relating to pimping, pandering and unlawful sex acts with a minor girl.
On the 4th of July, Ms. Bryant befriended the victim at the Roseville Galleria Mall. She gave the teen her phone number so they could get together. When the minor contacted Bryant a few days later, both Bryant and Wright drove to Yuba County, north of Sacramento and Roseville, to pick her up. They took her to a residence in North Highlands, where they sexually assaulted her.
The following evening the suspects gave the victim tight, revealing clothing and said she would have to work as a prostitute in the Sacramento area. Out of fear, she agreed. While walking within an area well-known for prostitution, the victim was contacted by Sheriff’s deputies, but she did not tell them about her situation. As Detectives reviewed the circumstances of the contact with the 16-year-old girl, they began an investigation that led to Wright and Bryant being identified as suspects in this case.
Devonte Wright has a history violent offenses. Just one month prior to this incident he was charged with domestic violence – inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or co-habitant, and for violating a domestic relations court order. Because law enforcement withholds the name of the victims of domestic violence out of concern for their privacy, it is not known if his current partner, Imani Bryant was also his victim in that incident.
In November of last year, Wright was arrested by Sacramento police at 2 am on Tuesday, November 11 in North Sacramento near the corner of Rancho Roble Way and Binghampton Drive after a hit and run incident while he was driving a stolen car. He was booked for reckless evasion of police, grand theft auto, possession of a stolen vehicle, and hit and run causing property damage. He was released on $55,000 bail, but failed to show at court, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Roseville Police captured him on April 12, and he was booked at Sacramento again the next day.
Wright’s partner, Imani Bryant, was arrested less than a week prior to the kidnapping incident by Oakland police. She was picked up for disorderly conduct: soliciting lewd acts and prostitution near the corner of 12th Street and 13th Avenue.
“The potential pimps are really predators. They’re looking for a vulnerable population,” said Sgt. Jason Ramos of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department. “Someone who’s impressionable and [who] might see someone as charismatic. That’s how it all starts and develops very quickly” he told KCRA News.
In addition to charges including unlawfully causing a minor to engage in commercial sex acts, and pimping and pandering of a person under the age of 18, Wright was charged with unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor victim, and Bryant was charged with unlawful penetration with a foreign object. In reviewing the case, the District Attorney’s office will likely bring kidnapping and human trafficking charges as well.
Blue Heart International, a victim’s advocacy group that promotes awareness of sex trafficking, has been working with the victim’s family through the ordeal. “I think the biggest issue is the community it happened in,” said Blue Heart board member Trisha Pickerel to KCRA. “Nobody thinks anything is going to happen in Roseville.”
Blue Heart will holding an event at 6:00 pm on Thursday, July 30, 2015 at at the House of Oliver in Roseville to discuss the growing problem of sex trafficking and how people can get involved.