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Prostitute's story aids Bellevue investigation of alleged sex trafficker
The confessions of a prostitute who allegedly faced regular beatings, living in fear of a controlling pimp, helped build a case that led to Thursday's grand jury indictment of a 33-year-old Auburn man for sex trafficking crimes.
John "Lucky" Cyprian Jr., had been largely in control of the woman's life for about a year, taking on the role of her pimp in April 2013, according to a probable cause affidavit by the Bellevue Police Department, which led the investigation against the Auburn man. The woman approached a Bellevue vice detective in April, saying she wanted to help prosecute Cyprian for what he'd done to her and at least one other prostitute.
Now Cyprian is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle on two counts of sex trafficking through force, fraud and coercion and two counts of transportation for the purpose of prostitution through coercion and enticement.
The affidavit states the woman was already working as a prostitute when she met Lucky through one of his former prostitutes in April 2013, initially declining his offer to be her pimp. She reported being raped by Cyprian in a Seatac hotel, at which point she assumed they were dating and he would also be her pimp.
From that time to July 2013, the prostitute told police Cyprian controlled all aspects of her life, including setting up online ads for prostitution on Backpage.com, making her appointments with Johns, setting fees for services and always staying close by while she worked a circuit that included Bellevue, Seatac, Mountlake Terrace, Auburn, Tukwila and Portland. He also allegedly beat the prostitute at least once a week, controlled what and when she ate and forced her to work 24/7, napping between Johns, the affidavit states.
Bellevue Police first encountered the prostitute during a joint undercover operation with the Child Endangerment Task Force on April 26, 2013, where the mission was to recover juveniles stuck in prostitution and encourage adult prostitutes to quit or leave their pimps.
Cyprian had allegedly rented a room at the Bellevue Hilton to work the prostitute, posting an ad for her on Backpage that undercover officers used to schedule an appointment at the Silver Cloud Motel.
After accepting $200 from an undercover officer for sex and becoming naked, she was arrested and interviewed about Cyprian, the affidavit states, refusing to give him up out of fear.
She was arrested again for prostitution in July 2013 and incarcerated for 45 days, telling police she briefly returned to work for Cyprian after her release.
She later began dating a man, became pregnant and fled to Texas and then Las Vegas before calling Cyprian to ask him to take her back in January, the affidavit states.
Once back in the Seattle area, the woman told police she was put to work driving Cyprian and a new prostitute to appointments around the region. She was arrested for an outstanding warrant out of Bellevue for prostitution later in January following a traffic stop while driving Cyprian around Mountlake Terrace.
The Bellevue Police, working with the Mountlake Terrace Police and FBI, began building a case against Cyprian, the affidavit states, linking the 33-year-old Auburn man to Backpage ads and confirming the prostitute's story through hotel invoices signed by Cyprian.
Auburn Police arrested Cyprian for domestic violence at the Days Inn in May, after he allegedly grabbed, punched, pushed and shook his alleged prostitute. He made bail, but was again arrested by Bellevue Police after officers received a tip regarding his whereabouts on June 16.
Cyprian is set to be transferred to federal custody and arraigned in about two weeks. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and up to life in prison, if convicted on the sex trafficking charges and up to 20 years in prison and three years of supervised release for the transportation charges.