ROHNERT PARK (CBS SF) — A Santa Rosa man and his mother had operated an illegal brothel in the North Bay for 10 years, employing nearly 150 women and serving hundreds of clients, authorities said Tuesday.
David Romesburg, 38, and his mother Fay Romesburg, 59, were arrested Jan. 26 for pimping, pandering and human trafficking. They were scheduled to appear in Sonoma County Superior Court Tuesday.
Department of Public Safety Sgt. Jeff Justice said the Romesburgs operated the brothel in a house on Alvarado Avenue in Santa Rosa and then moved it to an apartment in Rohnert Park.
Statements by the prostitutes and records found in the Santa Rosa house show the Romesburgs planned to open Black Cat Industries, a gaming and karaoke studio in a shopping center on Southwest Boulevard in Rohnert Park that they would use to host clients of the prostitutes.
The Romesburgs applied for a business license intending to open the business last Thursday, but they did not receive a permit and the license was denied, Justice said.
Rohnert Park investigators spoke to eight of the women employed by the Romesburgs. One woman was under 18 years old when she was recruited to work for them and another woman said she was sexually assaulted during her “interview,” public safety officials said.
The women said David Romesburg posted ads for their services online and responded to inquiries to the ads, according to the department.
David Romesburg told the women when to meet the clients, and the women had to pay a portion of the money they received to the Romesburgs, public safety officials said.
Sonoma County Superior Court records show David Romesburg pleaded no contest to unlawful sex with a minor in 2003 and he was convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a minor under 16 years old in 2001.
All of the women employed by the Romesburgs are considered victims or witnesses to the brothel operation. Detectives are asking any women who were employed by the Romesburgs as prostitutes to call the Department of Public Safety at (707) 584-2630 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public safety officials said they are not looking to prosecute the women but want to identify other victims and witnesses allegedly used by the Romesburgs.
David and Fay Romesburg were arrested on suspicion of pimping and pandering, and David was also arrested on suspicion of human trafficking, public safety officials said. They were booked into Sonoma County Jail.
David Romesburg’s bail was set at $250,000 and Fay Romesburg’s bail was set at $245,000, public safety officials said.