SEATTLE - The man behind an elite, tech savvy prostitution website, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, that served Bellevue and Seattle was sentenced Thursday morning.
Charles Peters was sentenced to 3.5 years for nine counts of promoting prostitution. It marks the end of a three-year case and an extensive sting operation which led to dozens of arrests in January 2016.
A total of 33 men were arrested in connection to the prostitution bust which involved a group called the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. It used a website to manage Korean women, forced to live in luxury apartment buildings in Bellevue and Seattle. A total of 13 brothels were operating and were advertised on the website where johns could exchange Yelp-like reviews of the women.
Most of the men pleaded guilty and avoided jail time. A second in command, below Peters, was sentenced to 75 days last week.
Peters, the leader of the website group, went to trial in October for the nine counts of promoting prostitution and was convicted of those charges. Prosecutors initially recommended a four-year prison sentence.
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The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
The local men were recruited from another website — the Review Board — that advertised prostitutes nationally and had up to 20,000 members. The local website was aimed toward elite hobbyists and was infiltrate by an undercover King County Sheriff’s detective.
“It is connected … to the human trafficking that was going on with these 12 Korean women that we rescued from a life of prostitution and rape,” said then Sheriff John Urquhart at the time. “…The men that ran that website, and the second one we took down, are keeping these women in bondage…”
“They were brought here illegally,” he said. “They were held against their will, and were essentially sex slaves.”
The men used the website to talk about the women and their activity with them. They also used it to organize new apartments to keep them in. Johns went through a screening process to be part of the group.
The 12 women who were being prostituted and promoted by Peters and others were rarely allowed to leave their apartments and advertised as available for work up to 14 hours a day, six days a week. None of the women were arrested in relation to the prostitution operation.
“Make no mistake about it, these women are victims,” Urquhart said. “We wanted to rescue them out of that horrible life that they found themselves in.”