A Santa Rosa woman and her son were arrested on Friday for allegations that they were running a prostitution ring involving up to 150 women over a 10-year period of time. They are also suspected of using properties as brothels to employ women as sex workers.
59-year-old Fay Ruth Romesburg is an author of female-empowering erotic literature under the pseudonym F.R.R. Mallory, and she identifies herself as a feminist. She is the mother of 38-year-old David Scott Romesburg III with whom she shares a home and declared as dependent on the earnings from her writing career.
At the end of last year, Rohnert Park Police was notified by an apartment manager reporting suspicious activity leading them to believe that one of the units was being used as a brothel. One of the neighbors added to the complaint and stated that men visited the apartment regularly. The Santa Rosa Police Department had also been notified with similar information regarding a private home in their district.
An investigation was opened against Romesburg and her son, and authorities discovered internet advertisements offering massages “with upgrades” and containing content that they believed correlated to the case. An undercover Rohnert Park detective called and scheduled a meeting with a woman who was featured in the ads. He was allegedly told to meet with her at the apartment that was under investigation, and the officer reported that the 19-year-old female who met with him proposed that he pay her for sexual favors. The premises were then searched and numerous women were taken into custody in order for the authorities to obtain evidence for the investigation.
Police also dispatched to the Santa Rosa home, and Romesburg and her son were arrested as the suspects of running a prostitution business and brothel out of their home and two apartments. In addition, authorities seized their property.
Romesburg and her son were booked into the Sonoma County Jail and charged with pimping and pandering. Romesburg’s bail was set at $245,000.
David Romesburg was issued additional charges of human trafficking and money laundering, and he is being held on $250,000 bail.
Romesburg issued a statement after her incarceration and said that although she believes the current laws against the sex work industry are an “assault on women’s rights,” she is not a pimp. She denied claims that any prostitution was taking place in her home, but said that she was offering rooms for rent to women who were independent contractors and had difficulty finding housing due to an inability to provide proper proof of income to prospective landlords.
Romesburg and her son made appearances in Sonoma County Superior Court on Monday and neither of them has entered an official plea. They were granted a continuation, and the hearing was rescheduled for March 16 in order to provide them additional time to hire legal representation.
If you or someone you love is suspected of sexual offenses, contact Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 for a consultation now.