Prosecutors say he forced her to work as a prostitute almost everyday during the summer of 2011. On Monday, 35-year-old Tajahn Clinton was sentenced to 33-and-a-half years in prison for federal sex trafficking.
"Mr. Clinton's conduct was violent. It was degrading to the women and I think that Judge [Karen] Schreier along with our office sent a pretty clear message today [Monday] that this behavior, that's not going to be accepted in South Dakota," South Dakota U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson said.
Clinton's 26-year-old victim says she met him while she was riding a bike in Sioux Falls on her way to a visitation with her children in the summer of 2011. She described how she is taking numerous medications for a mental illness and how she is now on another medication because of the constant nightmares she has because of her experiences with Clinton.
Prosecutors say Clinton and his partner forced her to work as a prostitute and to give them the $200 she earned for each encounter.
Johnson says they found several more victims through their investigation.
"He had at least seven different victims come forward in our community and there was violence against every single one of them, so Mr. Clinton earned his 33 years in federal prison there's no doubt about that," Johnson said.
Clinton declined to comment before he was sentenced, but several letters of support were sent to the court from family and friends describing how Clinton had at one time helped less-fortunate children in Texas. However, because of drugs and alcohol he strayed from his ways and now faces more than 30 years behind bars.
"The fact of the matter is Mr. Clinton is not going to get out of prison anytime soon and really won't be the same threat to the community he is now by the time he gets out," Johnson said.
Clinton will be in his 60s when he is released from prison. Judge Schreier said Monday that she hopes by that point in his life he can have a positive influence on society.
Johnson hopes the sentence will send a message to the community and says South Dakota is consistently getting longer sentences for sex trafficking crimes than other states.