A 39-year-old man will spend over three decades in prison for forcing children to sell brownies he made, abusing them if they did not meet their quotas, and taking them across state lines for sex.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Louisiana announced May 19 that a judge a sentenced Darnell Fulton to 35 years behind bars for conspiracy to commit forced labor and transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. Fulton pleaded guilty to the charges in November.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Fulton operated a business selling brownies and made the victims travel to up to 20 or 30 businesses such as car dealerships, restaurants, law firms, and plazas selling the desserts. The children reportedly worked late hours baking the brownies, then spent the daytime traveling to the different locations.
The victims were reportedly his stepchildren.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the victims worked seven days a week and needed to meet a sales quota set by Fulton. He reportedly “regularly assaulted the victims because he was not satisfied with their daily work performance, especially if they did not meet his projected sales daily quota.”
As punishment, Fulton forced the children to stay in a plank position for hours and would whip them “if they got out of proper form.”
Additionally, Fulton reportedly made some of the juveniles perform sex acts on him. He even took them across state lines to commit sex acts.
According to the statement, Fulton must also pay $979,800 to the victims in restitution.
U.S. Attorney Brandon B. Brown for the Western District of Louisiana said, “The defendant’s actions in this case were deplorable and despicable. Forced labor is a form of modern-day slavery and we have a duty to protect the most vulnerable of our society. He had no hesitation in torturing and demoralizing these victims, his own children. We are grateful for this sentence and hope that the victims can begin the healing process.”