The 16-year-old Orange County High School for the Arts student wasn't exactly innocent in 2013 when two men in a large, white SUV picked her up from class.
Having worked as a model as well as a prostitute selling herself "to the highest bidder," the attractive, fit, brunette girl posed as an 18-year-old and caused the rendezvous by posting a risqué photo Internet ad that prompted one of the men, "Taylor," to contact her by phone.
Driven to a Santa Ana La Quinta Hotel off the 55 Freeway, the girl later told FBI agents that she believed she was there only to perform legitimate modeling services.
But when she arrived in a hotel room she saw numerous older women, was pressured to smoke marijuana and then "Taylor," actually Long Beach-native Marquis Horn, a onetime, training camp member of the New Orleans Saints and U.S. Olympic team hopeful turned Southern California pimp, got her alone and tried to sexually assault her before she escaped, according to an FBI report.
It turns out that Horn was operating a lucrative prostitution ring in Orange County that used Pimpology, an actual book, as a step-by-step guide for how pimps can pretend to start a romantic relationship with a targeted female, promise financial security, win emotional attachment and then force the victim to sell her body for sex with anonymous men.
"The model [for Horn's business] included using fraudulent Internet postings to lure vulnerable young women into romantic relationships with false promises of love and financial support," a U.S. Department of Justice report states. "Once the victims were emotionally entangled, they were psychologically manipulated and coerced into prostituting and relinquishing their earnings."
Horn's stable of women–African Americans, Latinos, Asians and Caucasians–received as little as 20 percent or as much as 40 percent of the prostitution fee, depending on his mood.
To him, the women were just "hoes" and "bitches," according to more than 400 text messages located by government agents conducting a search warrant.
In one message to a fellow pimp, Horn bragged he had "5 bitches" on his "roster" and that he'd sampled the merchandise to make sure it was "good."
In another message, he learned that one of his women had resisted performing sexual intercourse, a stance that prompted him to say, "I need to break a bitch down . . . Get her here, pleez."
In Feb. 2013, a federal grand jury indicted Horn, who was a track star at Florida State University, for "sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion."
Though in July Horn pleaded guilty, his defense lawyer argued that his client's role in prostitution was "minor" and deserving of a punishment reduction because he'd grown up in extremely poor conditions. In fact, the lawyer stated, "it is truly remarkable" that Horn is as "accomplished" as he is, and then noted his NFL experience; work as a Hollywood extra, fashion model and AFLAC commercial actor; and alleged emergence from a Los Angeles street gang.
But federal prosecutors call Horn's sex trade conduct "reprehensible" and point to his weighty rap sheet that includes vehicle thefts, disturbing the peace, grand theft, burglary, receiving stolen property and prior pimping convictions.
"The defendant's criminal activities were calculated and predatory," the prosecutors reported while asking U.S. District Court Judge Josephine Staton Tucker to sentence the 36-year-old pimp to a prison term of 135 months.
Before sentencing, Horn begged the judge for mercy.
"My childhood and teenage years are not among the best memories I have," he wrote from a Santa Ana Jail cell. "My mother relied on food stamps and government funding for as long as I can remember to support us and her drug and alcohol addiction. My mother was addicted to crack cocaine, alcohol and cigarettes. I have four beautiful sisters. None of us have the same father and not one of these male figures were around to help my mother care for us. I remember moving from place to place as a teenager, never staying in one place for more than one year. At the apartments we lived in throughout the city, they were all located in the worst areas of Long Beach. There was hardly food in the refrigerator, our electricity and heat was constantly off. We also had rats and roaches as roommates."
The sad story may have worked.
This week inside Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse, Tucker–a President Barack Obama appointee in 2010–determined the correct punishment for Horn is a 78-month prison stint, or about five years less than what prosecutors sought.
She also ordered him to register as a sex offender and undergo supervised probation for five years after his release from prison.