Las Vegas family court marshal accused of sex trafficking teen girl

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – A Las Vegas family court marshal is accused of sex trafficking a 17-year-old girl and also paying her for sex, NewsNation affiliate KLAS has learned.

Bryce Tokunaga, 31, faces five felony charges including sex trafficking of a child under 18, facilitating sex trafficking of a victim less than 18, first-degree kidnapping of a minor, being a customer engaging in soliciting a child for prostitution, and child abuse or neglect.

“He is supposed to be there to protect children and yet he’s out there exploiting them,” Clark County Chief Deputy District Attorney Hetty Wong.”

The defendant is not only a John, meaning he’s not just a customer on this victim and paying her for sex, but he’s actually supplying her with the tools to prostitute herself.

As a family court marshal, Tokunaga’s job is to oversee a courtroom where issues related to childcare are decided, according to Wong.

Tokunaga bought the girl condoms, food, hygiene products, hair and nail services, and booked hotel rooms where she could prostitute herself, Wong said.

He has been working with juveniles since 2018, according to Clark County. Most recently, he was hired as a marshal on Feb. 5, a District Court spokesperson said. He was initially hired part-time in 2018 as a youth and family assistant, and then hired as a full-time juvenile probation officer in 2021, according to Clark County.

Before being hired as a marshal, Tokunaga worked in the juvenile justice system.

Judge Rebecca Saxe ordered Tokunaga to be released on his own recognizance, meaning he will not have to pay bail to be released from jail. Conditions of his release include high-level electronic monitoring. Saxe also ordered Tokunaga to stay away from the victim.

“While the court does find concerns regarding the serious nature of the charges, the court notes there is no physical violence alleged in the police report,” Saxe said. “While the court may find that the alleged acts in this case are reprehensible, the Nevada Supreme Court made very clear that bail cannot and should not be used as a punishment. and that would be a decision for a later judge.”

Wong argued for monetary bail of $100,000 and pointed out that based on the charges he faces, Tokunaga could face a life sentence.

Jess Marchese, Tokunaga’s attorney said Tokunaga has no criminal history, is not a flight risk, and had turned himself in.

The investigation began with a traffic stop on Feb. 18 around 1 a.m., according to a citation obtained by the 8 News Now Investigators. Las Vegas Metro Police stopped Tokunaga near Procyon Street near Tompkins Avenue. The teen girl was his passenger, according to Marchese.

The location of the initial traffic stop is an area known for prostitution. Text messages revealed that Tokunaga appeared to drive the teen to Boulder Highway, also known for prostitution, according to a Las Vegas Metro police arrest report.

In one instance, the teen asked to be driven to Boulder Highway so she could “make plays real quick,” police said.

Tokunaga sent the teen photos of his weapons and told her her pistol is done, according to detectives. The teen responded that she took the gun to her house, police said. Police noted in the arrest report that the teen is prohibited from possessing firearms because she is under 18.

Photos of weapons Bryce Tokunaga allegedly sent to a teenager he is accused of sex trafficking. (LVMPD/KLAS)

Police said Tokunaga also texted the teen a photo of a taser on Amazon asking her which one she would like him to buy for her. When the pair was initially stopped by police, the teen had a pink taser in her purse, according to the arrest report.  

Tokunaga sent the teen $230 through Paypal for a plane ticket so she could engage in prostitution out of state, police said.

In one exchange between the pair while the teen was in Kansas City, the teen said someone shot her and she shot back, police said. Detectives were attempting to locate an incident matching the one described, the arrest report stated.

Tokunaga texted the teen about putting money aside so he could “hookup” with her, according to police.

“I don’t want to make it seem like work to you,” Tokunaga texted according to the arrest report.

Tokunaga was taken into custody and then released. A forensic analysis of his cell phone revealed text messages between Tokunaga and the teen girl. He turned himself into the Clark County Detention Center on Monday, Marchese said.

Tokunaga is scheduled to appear back in court on March 7.

He is currently on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation, a spokesperson said.

If you or someone you know may be affected by human trafficking, resources are available. The National Human Trafficking Hotline can be reached at 888-373-7888.

Crime

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