Crime

Tri-Cities teen charged with selling his friend to an adult for sex

A Kennewick teen will stand trial in November for allegedly selling a 13-year-old friend for sex and pocketing $100 in the deal.

Diego Pantoja Vallejo, 15, is accused of making the arrangements as the two teens were leaving a quinceañera.

The exchange with Jesus F. Serrano-Flores happened on July 27 — a day before he turned 23.

The older man later told Pasco police he did not know it was illegal to pay for sex, and claimed he had been told the girl was 20, according to court documents.

Then, when investigators showed Serrano-Flores a social media picture of the girl, he said she looked like a minor, but added that he thought she was 17, documents said.

Pantoja Vallejo is charged in Franklin County Juvenile Court with promoting the commercial sexual abuse of a minor.

He was released from the Juvenile Detention Center after posting $250 bond. While awaiting trial Nov. 8, he must live with his mother and follow a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. court-ordered curfew.

Serrano-Flores remains locked up in the Franklin County jail on $50,000 bail. He is charged in Superior Court with commercial sexual abuse of a minor.

Pasco police learned about the alleged sex trafficking on Aug. 5, when the girl reported having sex with an adult man.

The girl said her friend, Pantoja Vallejo, insisted on talking with Serrano-Flores after the quinceañera. She said she was not comfortable because Serrano-Flores scared her.

juvenile
The Benton Franklin Juvenile Justice Center in Kennewick. File Tri-City Herald

During the conversation, Pantoja Vallejo said the girl was 17.

All three went to the adult’s Pasco apartment, where Pantoja Vallejo and Serrano-Flores discussed how much it would cost to have sex with the girl, court documents said.

The girl told police that Serrano-Flores removed her clothes and raped her, as Pantoja Vallejo stayed in the room, documents said.

She said her friend previously mentioned using the girl’s body for sex, but she declined. She didn’t receive any of the alleged $100 paid to her friend.

Pantoja Vallejo told detectives that the adult gave him $20 to buy condoms and later $100 for sex with the girl, but he gave all of the money back.

In his interview, Serrano-Flores told police, “I didn’t do things by force,” court documents said.

He claims the girl made the initial contact and told him it would cost $100 to be with her, documents said.

He also allegedly gave the two teens $20 in cab fare.

Kristin M. Kraemer covers the judicial system and crime issues for the Tri-City Herald. She has been a journalist for more than 20 years in Washington and California.
  Comments