Couple accused of using child as dominatrix

/ Source: The Associated Press

Federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment Monday accusing a man and woman of training the woman's child to be a dominatrix, selling her sexual services and photographing some of the acts.

U.S. Attorney John Wood said the case is unusual in that a parent has been charged with the commercial sex trafficking of his or her own minor child.

Todd B. Barkau, 35, of New York state, and the 44-year-old mother were charged in the seven-count indictment. They once lived together in Blue Springs, Mo., where the sex business was allegedly run.

"Barkau obtained control of a 12-year-old girl and he groomed, trained and forced her to become a sexual dominatrix," Wood said at a news conference in Kansas City on Monday.

Barkau was arrested near Niagara Falls and had an initial court appearance Saturday in Buffalo, N.Y., Wood said.

The mother was arrested Friday in Dallas and was scheduled to make an initial court appearance Monday. Messages left at the Northern District of Texas court seeking comment late Monday were not immediately returned.

Don Ledford, a spokesman for Wood, said as far as he knew neither defendant had been assigned attorneys.

The mother's name is not being published to protect the identity of the daughter, who is now 20 years old.

Federal prosecutors, who investigated the case for nearly two years, have filed a motion to detain both suspects in federal custody without bond.

The indictment says Barkau began training the girl in 2000 when she was 12, and forced her to engage in sex acts with him and with other men. According to the indictment, he also had the girl watch pornography on the Internet as a teaching tool.

Barkau is accused of creating a business out of the couple's Missouri home when the girl was 14 and marketing her as a 19-to-20-year-old dominatrix on the Internet for about two years.

The mother is charged with encouraging and participating in the venture, the indictment says.

Prosecutors will seek $80,000 the couple is accused of having made through sex trafficking, Wood said.