On June 20, 2019, Timothy Townsel of Modesto, California was sentenced to 16 years 8 months in state prison for two felonies related to human trafficking of an adult and minor while a gang member. He was sentenced today by the Honorable Judge David Goldstein in Department 6. Townsel is a member of a gang based in Modesto – Family Over Everything (F.O.E.). Townsel will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his adult life.
The case was investigated by the Concord Police Department with major participation from the Modesto Police Department, the Alameda Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office. During the investigation at least four victims were identified as being exploited for sex trafficking by the defendant. One of the Jane Doe victims was under the age of 16.
“This case highlights the multi-agency anti-human trafficking initiative that our justice partners are employing to fight these heinous crimes in our County. Detective Gilfry’s tenacity in investigating what would have once been viewed as a routine prostitution bust is the reason this multi-jurisdictional human trafficker will no longer harm his victims,” stated Deputy District Attorney Jay Melaas. DDA Melaas is assigned to our Office’s Sexual Assault Unit and prosecuted the case on behalf of the People.
Townsel trafficked his victims in Las Vegas, Utah, Arizona and other parts of California. He took these victims to these areas to commit sex trafficking. Townsel was recruiting these victims from local high schools and middle schools in the Modesto area. A major break in the case came during a routine security check at the Best Western Motel in Concord, California when Concord Police Officers detained the trafficking victims for suspected prostitution activity.
Eventually Townsel was arrested in Santa Cruz, California last year after a five-month investigation led by Detective Joshua Gilfry of the Concord Police Department that established Townsel was profiting off his victims through manipulation, threats, and physical abuse. Our Office charged him with six felonies in September 2018. Once Townsel was arrested our Office’s Victim Witness Assistance Program provided victim services for those Jane Does involved.
If you or someone you know is being pressured to engage in prostitution to benefit or help support another person, help is only a phone call away. Contact Community Violence Solutions at 800-670-7273 to speak to a confidential counselor. Or visit the Contra Costa Family Justice Centers in Richmond or Concord to talk to a Navigator about a variety of services and support available right here in Contra Costa County. The Family Justice Centers are a family-friendly one-stop center serving victims of human trafficking, domestic violence and other types of interpersonal violence. No appointment is needed, and the centers are located at 256 24th Street in Richmond or 2151 Salvio St., Suite 201 in Concord.
To learn more about human trafficking in Contra Costa County, visit the Contra Costa Human Trafficking Coalition’s webpage at www.contracostacoalition.org
Case information: People v. Timothy Allen Townsel, Docket 01-187211-8