Man sentenced to prison after taking plea deal in Bountiful human trafficking case

Posted at 5:00 PM, Feb 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-18 19:01:10-05

BOUNTIFUL, Utah — A Bountiful man has pleaded guilty to charges related to human trafficking and will spend one to fifteen years in prison.

The Utah Attorney General’s Office announced Saturday that Todd Jeremy Rettenberger accepted a plea deal Thursday and was sentenced to one to 15 years in prison for human trafficking as a second-degree felony and zero to five years in prison for felony exploitation of prostitution as a third-degree felony.

Rettenberger will serve both sentences concurrently.

“The victims of this trafficker were girls, barely older than teens, forced into prostitution against their will and compelled to stay in ‘the life’ by threats against their well-being and against their families,” Attorney General Sean Reyes stated in a press release. “I am thrilled they will not have to endure a trial and be forced to relive the atrocities perpetrated upon them.”

Reyes said it will be critical to support the victims in the days to come.

“It is imperative that we now keep these survivors safe, avoid revictimizing them, empower them with resources and do everything we can to help them heal and reclaim their lives,” he stated. “Importantly, this case demonstrates that human trafficking is real. It exists in Utah as it does across the nation and around the world. It takes many forms and can happen anywhere.”

The suspect was charge in April of 2016 after police received several reports he was running a commercial sex operation out of Bountiful that extended into other states. The SECURE Strike Force from the Attorney General’s Office along with Bountiful City PD investigated those allegations and found two women who were victimized by Rettenberger as part of the operation.

The victims told authorities Rettenberger used forceful and coercive tactics, including threats of violence, financial coercion and exploitation of drug dependencies, according to the press release.