A man convicted of sexually exploiting women as a pimp will spend the rest of his life – and then some – in prison.
In a sentencing hearing Tuesday afternoon, Arapahoe County Judge Peter F. Michaelson sentenced the man found guilty of running a child prostitution ring to 472 years in prison.
That is more than four times the minimum required sentence - and the largest sentence brought down for a human trafficking case in the country.
Brock Franklin was indicted in 2015 by a grand jury for allegedly using drugs and violence to control young girls, often forcing them into lewd acts as part of a child sex trafficking ring.
Four others have already been sentenced for their involvement in the human trafficking ring.
Prosecutors said Franklin preyed on young women and girls who were vulnerable. In his trial, a jury heard from eight of the nine victims in the case.
“Damage isn’t lessened because of where someone came from or where someone did not come from,” an attorney for the Arapahoe County District Attorney’s Office said in court Tuesday.
In a packed courtroom Tuesday afternoon, prosecutors read two letters from Franklin’s victims.
“Every morning I wake up I have to remind myself the defendant will no longer be able to hurt me,” the first letter began.
The victim, identified only as “DY,” wrote to the court about the PTSD, anxiety, and depression she suffers because of Franklin’s actions.
“I began to doubt myself, thinking everything the defendant told me was true,” her letter read. “I am a mother and a soon-to-be wife and I am not all the defendant said I was or to become.”
Then, one of his victims spoke directly to the court - in person.
“I miss myself, my confidence, my laugh. I miss my happiness,” she said, as she described her three “long months” under Franklin, beginning in Jan. 2015.
She discussed her recurrent PTSD, anxiety and depression.
“The tough ones are us women,” she addressed the court. “The prison time [the defendant] will serve does not compare to the damage he has caused to these women or myself,”
“I forgive Brock Franklin, but only because the Good Lord says I must,” she said tearfully to the court.
The victim finished her impact statement by saying, “Today I let this demon go.”
In March of this year, Franklin went on trial for 34 counts including pimping a child, patronizing a child prostitute, kidnapping and assault.
He was found guilty on 30 counts including human trafficking, sexual exploitation of a child, child prostitution, kidnapping, pimping of a child, and racketeering.
He was acquitted of several charges including distributing marijuana and assault with a deadly weapon.
The lead investigator on Franklin’s case also spoke to the court.
The state trooper assigned to the innocence lost task force described the case as “emotional and hard” on everyone who touched it.
“We must send other predators out there a clear message that our children and our women are not for sale,” she said.
The trooper told the court Franklin is a predator who made conscious decisions to exploit his victims.
The minimum sentence would have been 96 years in prison, which is what Franklin’s defense team requested, reminding the judge Franklin had not been convicted of any violent crimes.
Janet Drake, with the Attorney General’s Office, asked the judge for a 616 year sentence on behalf of the people of the state of Colorado.
“This is not a minimum sentence type of case,” Drake said.
Franklin’s defense team argued a 616 year sentence would not be appropriate. His attorneys told the judge a 96 year to life sentence would be ample punishment, since Franklin would likely never live to see his parole eligibility even with that sentence.
The defense also said Franklin’s troubled past, including being homeless at age five, should be considered in his sentencing.
Franklin did not speak to the court during his sentencing hearing.
The judge did, however, speak directly to Franklin after handing down the sentence.
“Franklin, make the most of your life,” he said. ‘Perhaps you can do some good for people who have done bad in their life.”
“The strength you’ve shown to the court makes clear to me you can be as successful in life... as anyone. Don’t let this episode define who you are,” the judge said in his remarks to the victims.