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California Briefing / MOORPARK

Man accused of using girl as sex slave

September 18, 2008|Catherine Saillant

A Ventura County man was charged Wednesday with raping a 13-year-old girl whom authorities said he kept as a sex slave inside a recreational vehicle parked in a remote Moorpark orchard.

Shawn Barth, 46, was charged with two counts of rape, one count of oral copulation and one count of continuous sexual abuse, authorities said. He was being held on $1-million bail. If convicted on all charges, he faces a maximum of 61 years to life in prison.

The suspect, who had been on probation for a drug charge, was arrested Monday, said sheriff's Det. Eric Buschow. He said the girl, who was not named, was taken into protective custody late last week.

Barth previously lived with the girl and her mother in San Bernardino County, he said. Barth brought the girl to Moorpark in May, arranging to rent space from the orchard's landlord, authorities said.

The victim was permitted to attend a local public school, but Barth otherwise kept her isolated inside the 40-foot-long RV. "She was sexually assaulted repeatedly over three months," Buschow said.

Authorities said that when Moorpark Unified School District officials contacted her previous school to obtain records, they were tipped that there was a possible restraining order against Barth in connection with a previous allegation of molestation involving the victim.

Authorities believe there could be other victims. Anyone with information about contact with Barth is asked to call the Ventura County Sheriff's Department at (805) 494-8201.

-- Catherine Saillant

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