By Aska Smith
In a high profile case this May, the DA announced the arrest of 21-year-old Contra Costa County resident Jeremiah Bessolo-Marsh. He was arrested on a no bail warrant that included: pimping and pandering; false imprisonment with sex trafficking; production of child pornography; possession of child pornography; knowingly allowing a minor to sell nude and/or explicit material; unlawful sex with a minor; oral copulation with a minor; forcible penetration with a foreign object; furnishing illegal narcotics to a minor; and dissuading a victim or witness.
The DA called this a human trafficking case and described that the defendant and the minor girl met at a party in Contra Costa County in September 2017, and she began running away from home in order to be with him.
They engaged in sexual behavior and, according to Detective David Gonzalez, “[i]n order for them to bring in some kind of funds, he persuaded her to sell videos, to commit sexual acts, and bring in money that way.” He also allegedly supplied drugs to the girl, who stopped attending school.
Following a preliminary hearing about a month ago that saw Bessolo-Marsh held to answer on the key charges, a plea agreement was reached.
Bessolo-Marsh will enter a conditional negotiated plea. According to Attachment 9, Bessolo-Marsh plead no contest to Counts 4, 5, and 6 with the remaining counts and charges dropped.
Count 4 was a felony charge of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor from September 9, 2017 to February 16, 2018. Count 5 was a violation of the health and safety code, furnishing controlled substances to a minor from September 9, 2017 – February 16, 2018. Count 6 was dissuading a witness on December 7, 2017. All remaining counts and charges will be dismissed.
Bessolo-Marsh’s prison sentence of eight years and eight months will be suspended, but if probation terms are violated or he commits a crime, then he is going to prison.
Currently, Bessolo-Marsh will be required to be on probation for five years, have no contact with the minor involved in the case, and be searchable and testable at any time for alcohol or drugs. Additionally, Bessolo-Marsh will also be a registered sex offender for 10 years. The judge approved the plea agreement and the plea agreement will be brought back to court on September 4 after the probation department reviews the agreement.