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Prosecutors charge Kent man with promoting prostitution

King County prosecutors charged a 37-year-old Kent man with second-degree promoting prostitution after he allegedly used an 18-year-old woman with a mental disability to perform sex acts with men for money and then give the cash to him.

Prosecutors charged Walter E. Woods on Nov. 28 after undercover officers set up a prostitution sting operation at the Crossland Studios hotel, 25104 Pacific Highway S., according to charging papers.

Woods is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 12 at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. Woods remained in custody Friday at the county jail at the Regional Justice Center. Bail was set at $75,000.

Woods reportedly placed ads on the website backpage.com that featured photos of the woman, a Seattle high school student. He would drive her to locations to perform sex acts and then take the money the woman received.

Kent Police arrested Woods for investigation of promoting prostitution on Thanksgiving Day outside of the Crossland Studios hotel. The woman told police that she had worked as a prostitute for Woods for about a week. She said Woods was going to take her out to eat with his family for Thanksgiving but he wanted her to make some money first.

Kent Police set up a sting as part of an ongoing operation to identify and recover females involved in sex trafficking and exploited on backpage.com. An undercover officer called the phone number on the ad and set up a meeting at his hotel room with the woman in the ad. The woman agreed to come to the room for $150 for one hour.

The woman later entered the room and agreed to a sex act. After she asked for money, the undercover officer gave a pre-determined arrest signal and the woman was detained by police.

Officers also detained Woods in a vehicle outside the hotel after they spotted him dropping off the woman and then waiting in his car. Woods declined to talk to police about the incident.

The woman told detectives she met Woods a few weeks ago at the Westlake Mall in Seattle where Woods works as an airbrush artist painting T-shirts. He told her he had several girls who worked for him in the past but now they were with a different pimp.

Detectives searched the apartment of Woods and found a fur coat and black high-heel shoes that matched the coat and shoes the woman wore in the photo in the backpage.com ad. They also found a computer that had a photo of the woman in the fur coat saved on the desktop.

According to charging papers, Woods has a criminal history that includes a convictions for child luring in 2009 when he attempted to lure a girl under the age of 16 into his car; fourth-degree assault in 2009; false statement in 2008; obstructing a law officer in 2006 and second-degree assault in 2003.

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