Former juvenile probation officer sentenced for sex trafficking of children
Timothy McCullouch Jr., 30, was convicted of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and sex trafficking of children
By David Hernandez and Lindsey Anderson
El Paso Times
EL PASO, Texas — A former El Paso County juvenile probation officer was sentenced to 18 years in federal prison Monday for his role in a sex-trafficking ring involving underage girls.
Timothy McCullouch Jr., 30, was convicted of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and sex trafficking of children.
McCullouch was the last of six men indicted in the case to be sentenced for prostituting girls and women in El Paso, Albuquerque, Las Vegas and Colorado. A jury found McCullouch and three others — Richard "Crenshaw" Gray, Deion "Memphis" Lockhart and Emmanual "E Jay" Lockhart — guilty in January.
Two additional men, Tai Von "Trigg" Lynch and Brandon Shapiro, pleaded guilty last year.
McCullouch, who played football at University of Texas at El Paso from 2005 to 2007, was involved in the ring in June and July 2012, according to the indictment.
"You're the bad cop," U.S. District Judge Philip Martinez said before issuing the sentence. "You're the guy that didn't follow the rules when you clocked out."
Related ›› Man convicted in gang-related sex-trafficking case gets 20 years in prison
In addition to prison time, McCullouch must also pay $2,500 in court fees and $200 to a victim compensation fund, as well as participate in a sex offender treatment program and parenting classes. He will also serve 10 years supervised release after completing his sentence.
McCullouch gave a brief statement during the sentencing, pausing multiple times throughout.
"Please forgive me if I stumble on my words," he began, wiping his eyes. "First, it's difficult for me to apologize as I stand by my plea of not guilty. I recognize that I made some bad decisions. If my bad decisions have in anyway harmed anyone, I apologize."
He then addressed his father, who began crying as well, and two other family members or friends in the courtroom.
"I can't imagine what's going through his mind," McCullouch said of his father. "He and my other family have been by my side the entire time, but I just want to say in front of them ... you didn't fail ... when you taught me that everybody had my best interests at heart. Dad, I love you."
McCullouch said he will make sure his son doesn't "make the same mistakes in judging others" that he did.
Related ›› Convicted El Paso sex trafficker gets three life sentences in gang case
"I'm asking for the chance to spend some of his childhood with him," he said.
Defense attorney Sherilyn Bunn said McCullouch was "very naive," unaware of many of the ring's activities and made some "really bad decisions," but he wasn't a bad person.
Bunn said she received 50 letters from friends and family attesting to his character, 10 of which were shared with Martinez.
She said McCullouch wasn't violent toward the then 15-year-old girl, identified as A.N.J. in court documents, whom McCullouch enticed and transported, knowing she would be forced to engage in prostitution and benefiting financially from that prostitution, according to the indictment.
"She is a minor and that's tragic, but we submit she is a minor in biological age," Bunn said. "She was doing things we typically think of adults doing," like using Ecstasy and possessing a fake I.D.
Lead prosecutor Rifi Newaz challenged the defense's statements that McCullouch was utterly naive.
"It doesn't take a lot of wisdom to know that prostituting a 15-year-old girl is wrong, that raping someone is wrong," Newaz said. "While the victim of Mr. McCullouch may have had problems before, that in no way excuses Mr. McCullouch. ... That's not just a mistake or a slight error in judgment, that's harming another human being."
McCullouch came from a good family, had a college degree and had a good job, Newaz said.
"Despite that, he chose to take an easy route to make money prostituting a young girl," he said.
A.N.J., now 18, sat quietly throughout the hearing, occasionally wiping her eyes with a tissue. She too gave a statement.
"I don't know how to really start this," she began before choking up. "After everything that has happened, I'm the one that has to learn how to love myself."
She paused, the entire courtroom silent.
Related ›› HSI Officials: Key to stopping human trafficking is through the public's help
"I have to learn how to accept myself, knowing everything my body has been through. I have to learn to forgive myself for letting someone like you," she continued, looking at McCullouch, "control what has happened to my body and myself. ... I have learned that no one is perfect, and how to forgive someone who put me down when I was the most vulnerable."
McCullouch has the support of his family, but she doesn't, the young woman said.
"I honestly believe any time that you get will never amount to what I've gone through," she said. "I love myself now. I know God has made me the strong person that I am now. I hope when you have to face Him that you are given the mercy you never gave me when I was forced by you to give up my innocence."
Martinez said he understands McCullouch's smaller role in the conspiracy and that he wasn't aware of everything going on, but his decisions and relationships were "poor" and "anything but healthy."
"I think at some point, we become responsible for the decisions we make and the associations in which we engage," Martinez said. "A light bulb should've come on that the activity that was subject to discussion and that later went on, that there was just something wrong."
Martinez said McCullouch had a responsibility as a juvenile probation officer to aid young people in need even when off the clock. He should've known to be suspicious of A.N.J.'s age, despite believing she was older.
"You were raised by good people," Martinez said. "You know the activities that are right and wrong, the activities that are healthy and unhealthy. ... I hope, going forward you do teach your son that it's the lessons we learn when you're really young, what's right and wrong, that guide our decisions as we get older."