A 38-year-old Modesto man with a lengthy arrest record raped a 17-year-old Merced girl numerous times over two days earlier this month, according to Merced Police Department reports.
Devon T. Bradford also is accused of trying to force the girl into prostitution. He has pleaded not guilty to four counts of rape by force, two misdemeanor counts of annoying or molesting a child, and one count each of human trafficking of a minor and false imprisonment, according to Merced Superior Court records.
The allegations center around two days in a south Merced motel, beginning Feb. 13. Police believe the girl ran away from home and wound up at a motel in the 1400 block of V Street, just south of Highway 99.
There she met Bradford and, over the course of two days, she was “controlled and abused,” police said. The girl later told police Bradford refused to let her leave, forced himself on her sexually, and said “he became very demanding” and told her he was “the king,” according to police reports.
Detective Joseph Henderson, in his report, said Bradford disparaged and threatened the girl repeatedly over the two days.
“She told me he used his hands to pull her hair and forcefully would have sex with her,” the investigator wrote. “She estimated that his happened (four to five) times during the day, over a (two to three) day period. She told me she feared for her safety.”
Bradford also gave the girl marijuana and cigarettes, according to police.
“During the time she was in the room with him, she was not allowed to leave his side and when he left the room, he would make her leave with him,” Henderson wrote.
The girl later told police she feared Bradford would take her to Colorado against her will and force her into prostitution, police said.
“She said she was afraid of him and that if she did not do what he said, she felt he was going to assault her, and he threatened to hit her,” Merced police Officer Cruz Jasso wrote in his report. “When she continued to not do what he said, he told her he was going to hurt her mother.”
Officers were called just before 8:30 a.m. Feb. 15 to the motel after two of the girl’s relatives called police to say she was being held in a room by a man, possibly a “pimp,” and he was refusing to open the door. Bradford was arrested shortly after police arrived, according to reports.
His attorney, Merced County Deputy Public Defender Derek Meyer, could not be reached for comment Friday.
If convicted on all charges, Bradford faces up to 56 years in prison, said Ilia McKinney, the Merced County deputy district attorney prosecuting the case.
“The charges always are subject to change based on the information that comes out during a preliminary hearing,” McKinney said Friday.
Bradford in 2012 was charged with rape by force and false imprisonment. He ultimately served 21 days in jail – time served – after agreeing to a deal in which the rape charge was dismissed in exchange for a no-contest plea on the false imprisonment charge.
During hearings before the deal, the prosecution said Bradford offered the victim a ride to a friend’s house but instead took her to his home, where she awoke the next morning feeling she’d been drugged. The victim told police she heard Bradford on the phone saying, “I’ll break your jaw if you don’t make money for me.” The victim was reported to have been raped after he got off the phone, prosecutors said.
“We could not prove the rape charge beyond a reasonable doubt. We allowed a plea to false imprisonment, for probation, where the Probation Department supervised him closely,” said Elizabeth de Jong, Stanislaus County deputy district attorney.
As part of the plea deal, Bradford was ordered to serve three years of probation, which included completing counseling. He was arrested after one of the sessions in 2014 after accusations of using a sexually suggestive term to refer to a counselor.
Bradford’s rap sheet includes previous sexual offenses such as an arrest on suspicion of pimping in 2008 and a 1998 arrest in Merced on suspicion of raping a drugged victim. Both charges were dismissed.
Bradford remains in custody at the John Latorraca Correctional Facility with bail set at $350,000, according to booking records. He is due back in court March 23 and a preliminary hearing has been scheduled for April 3 before Judge Ronald Hansen in Merced Superior Court.
Rob Parsons: 209-385-2482