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Originally published October 22, 2009 at 12:06 AM | Page modified October 22, 2009 at 10:30 AM

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Pimp tells of 'selling' girls with dream

Mycah Johnson, an admitted pimp and member of the West Side Street Mobb, testified Wednesday against DeShawn "Cash Money" Clark, the man Johnson says taught him how to pimp out young girls. Clark, 19, is on trial in King County Superior Court on charges that include promoting prostitution, human trafficking and promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor.

Seattle Times staff reporter

To get a girl to prostitute herself, a pimp must first "sell her a dream" by confessing his love and promising her a future.

But of course, he doesn't really mean it, said Mycah Johnson, a convicted pimp and admitted gang member who Wednesday testified in King County Superior Court against the man he says taught him how to pimp out young girls.

"Most girls are insecure," said Johnson, the 20th witness to testify against DeShawn "Cash Money" Clark, 19, an alleged member of the West Side Street Mobb who is on trial on charges that include promoting prostitution, human trafficking and promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor.

"Do you look for girls who are insecure?" asked Senior Deputy Prosecutor Sean O'Donnell.

"Yes," Johnson replied.

Earlier this year, Johnson, 19, entered a plea agreement with prosecutors and is testifying against Clark to avoid facing more serious charges in Superior Court and U.S. District Court. His testimony provided a rare glimpse into the way members of his West Seattle gang operated, recruited girls, and kept their prostitutes in line with insults, threats and violence.

Johnson and four others, including Clark's older brother, Shawn Clark, already have pleaded guilty to prostitution-related charges. All are either members or associates of the West Side Street Mobb and a related gang called Crime Fam, which is made up of blood relatives, according to Johnson and other witnesses.

The Clarks' mother, Glenda Thomas, has been charged with witness tampering for contacting four prostitutes who worked for her sons in an attempt "to induce the victims to withhold testimony" in the cases against the brothers, according to court documents.

On Wednesday, the courtroom gallery was packed with at least two dozen of Clark's supporters, including one gang member who was arrested by King County sheriff's deputies on an outstanding warrant. A larger-than-usual contingent of plainclothes police and uniformed jail guards were also in court because of security concerns.

Johnson, who is serving a 21-month sentence at an undisclosed facility outside King County, is in administrative segregation — or solitary confinement — to protect him from other incarcerated gang members who've made daily threats against his life because of his plea agreement, he testified.

Johnson told the court Street Mobb members would gather for "meetings" at a West Seattle community center, a park in the High Point neighborhood and sometimes in the bleachers at Chief Sealth High School football games to discuss business and their "beefs" with other gangs.

Although members rarely shared money, Johnson said they'd help each other out when committing bank frauds, selling marijuana or getting their girls to and from "the track" — areas of prostitution on Aurora Avenue or Pacific Highway.

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To sell a girl a dream, "you sweet talk her. Just say romantic things like you love her, you care for her, you'll be there for her," Johnson said.

Then, once a girl has fallen for you, "you switch it up" on her, he said. "When she gets to the point she feels she can't live without you, you stop the sweet talking and say, 'You're going to do this and this and this,' " he testified. "And she'll do it because she loves you."

"Is she property or is she a person?" O'Donnell asked.

"More like property," Johnson said.

The girl who Johnson pimped out made $500 on an average day and $1,000 on a good one, giving her earnings to him, he testified.

He and Clark would "drive around, go to the mall, or just hang out" while their prostitutes were off having sex with strangers for money, Johnson said. Johnson said he bought himself clothes, jewelry and cars with the money she earned.

Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or sgreen@seattletimes.com

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