Girls Do Porn Performer Pleads Guilty to Federal Sex Trafficking Charges

Ruben Andre Garcia, the performer in Girls Do Porn videos, changed his plea to guilty of "conspiracy to commit sex trafficking" and "sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion,.

Dec 1 2020, 12:26pmSnap

On Friday, Girls Do Porn performer Ruben Andre Garcia pled guilty to federal counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion, as part of the ongoing federal case against the porn production company. 

Garcia is the male performer who appears in most of the Girls Do Porn videos. His face is never visible in the scenes, but Garcia is one of three co-operators of Girls Do Porn, a production company whose owners were found guilty last year of intimidating and coercing 22 women into having sex on camera, and lying to them about how widely the videos would be distributed.

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In November 2019, Pratt, Garcia, and Wolfe, along with their associate Valerie Moser, were charged with federal counts of sex trafficking. Pratt fled and is still a fugitive; he was recently placed on the FBI's Most Wanted list with a $10,000 reward set for information leading to his arrest. A month before that ruling, the FBI charged them with federal counts of sex trafficking

Garcia initially pled not guilty to the charges. Now he’s changed that plea to guilty, to counts one and seven in the federal indictment—"conspiracy to commit sex trafficking" and "sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion," respectively. On December 17, the FBI released a full announcement for the plea, which details some of Garcia’s admissions, including that he and his co-conspirators blocked the doors with furniture, and if the women tried to leave, the men “threatened to sue them, cancel their flights home, or post the footage that was already filmed online, which, unbeknownst to the victims, was going to happen anyway.”

U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer wrote in the release that Garcia “was a key player in a despicable fraud that has devastated the victims.”

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“For nearly a decade, victims have publicly accused Girls Do Porn of barricading hotel room doors, threatening lawsuits, and cancelling flights in order get victims to comply with their sexual demands,” Brian Holm, an attorney representing the 22 women in last year’s civil trial, told Motherboard following the official FBI announcement of Garcia’s plea. “These things did not become fact in 2020 just because Garcia finally copped to them. My clients have lived with this reality for years.”

Holm, along with attorney John O’Brien, is now representing 40 more alleged victims in a new case against Pornhub, claiming that the platform partnered with Girls Do Porn while knowing that the company was engaged in fraud and sex trafficking.

“Girls Do Porn’s denials of engaging in this behavior were never credible. The signs of distress were all over the videos—tear tracks in makeup, furniture piled in front of the doors and bloodstained sheets. We’re talking about a company that used fake names, mail drops, burner phones, offshore shell entities and who carefully edited the male actor's face out of the final videos to conceal his identity,” Holm said. “Is it really all that surprising that a company that operated like a criminal enterprise turned out to actually be a criminal enterprise? The only surprising thing is that companies like MindGeek partnered with and profited from a company that operated like this and continued to do so despite repeated complaints of criminal activity from the victims.”

During the civil trial in San Diego Superior Court, a Girls Do Porn cameraman testified to hearing Garcia—who went by several pseudonyms, including Andre, Ruben, Dre, and Jonathan—tell the women numerous times that the videos would only be available on DVD in Australian porn stores, even though all of the owners and the cameraman himself knew this was a lie. 

He also acted as the "casting director" for the company, and received a commission for the women he brought in, as well as recruiting women to act as references to further trick new models into coming to their San Diego hotel room set. He told one reference to assure these women that "no one would find out," according to court documents. The videos spread around the world, partially through the extremely popular Girls Do Porn website and presence on tube sites like Pornhub—and devastated the lives of many of the women who appeared in those videos. 

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"More often than not, Garcia offers alcohol and/or marijuana to the model, regardless of her age, before the shoot and encourages her to drink or smoke in order to calm her nerves and loosen," Judge Kevin Enright wrote in the statement of decision for the civil trial. Garcia instructed the women to "act excited, flirty, and fun" for the camera, and repeatedly stopped shooting when they didn't act enthusiastic enough to his liking. 

One of the plaintiffs in the civil trial testified to Garcia pushing her to continue a shoot when she started menstruating and asked to reschedule. "Garcia said there was no need, that they had dealt with this before and would just use a sponge," the court documents report. "When she resisted, Garcia said they had already spent the money on the shoot and would lose money if they cancelled now." Another Jane Doe plaintiff said Garcia became hostile when she made a similar request to reschedule, and physically forced a sponge into her vagina without her consent. Another, he physically shoved onto the bed and raped. 

During the civil trial, Garcia continued his abuse. One of the lawyers representing the 22 plaintiffs, Brian Holm, filed a restraining order against Garcia and Pratt, claiming that they spent years threatening him and his family with harassment. 

Garcia may face punishment of up to life in prison. His sentencing hearing, before U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino, is scheduled for March 5, 2021.

This story has been updated with information from the FBI announcement on December 17, and a statement from attorney Brian Holm.

Tagged:

porn, sex work, gdp

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