Gilroy man pleads guilty in teen sex crime case

Malik, Khalid Abdul

GILROY—More than a year after he was accused of luring a 13-year-old girl into prostitution, a Gilroy man has pleaded guilty to three felony sex crimes as part of a deal with prosecutors that will put him behind bars for 11 years.
In a case that saw the Gilroy victim testify in open court, Yahya Abdul Malik, 23, pleaded guilty to human trafficking, child molestation and oral copulation with a minor, according to prosecuting Deputy District Attorney Nahal Iravani-Sani.
He is scheduled for sentencing March 23 in Santa Clara County Superior Court in Morgan Hill.
“It’s as good of a result as we could have expected…We didn’t see any weaknesses in the case and I didn’t see any reason to give (Malik) leniency—especially having put the victim through coming to court and having to testify,” Iravani-Sani said. “We stuck to our guns and ultimately I think he realized we weren’t changing.”
Malik was arrested in January 2014 after Gilroy police broke up what they called a “prostitution ring” in a local motel.
Prosecutors alleged that Malik and four others—including a woman who was eventually ruled out as a suspect because she was a victim—trafficked the girl as a prostitute in motels in Seaside, Salinas and Gilroy for financial gain.
The girl’s mother reported her as a runaway on Jan. 14 2014. Gilroy police launched an investigation and found her and the suspects two days later at the Travel Inn at 5530 Monterey Road, Gilroy.
Ivan Diego Wade, arrested with Malik at the Gilroy motel, pleaded guilty to pimping and pandering and is serving a three-year sentence.
Malik’s brother, Khalid Abdul Malik, 24, was charged with a lewd and lascivious act with a child. After nearly a year of court hearings, he was declared incompetent to stand trial and is in custody awaiting housing in a mental institution, Iravani-Sani said.
The victim, who has since turned 14, testified for hours in court in 2014 before Superior Court Judge Edward Lee. She detailed her first meeting with Yahya Malik in a parking lot on First Street in Gilroy and having intercourse with him at his mother’s Gilroy home, and testified about sex acts she was forced to perform with clients at motels.
The victim said during her testimony that Yahya Malik encouraged her to be a part of his “escort business” as a way to escape her life at home and school.
“I wanted out of how I was living before he offered me a rich life by prostitution,” the girl said. He promised her “fine things as long as she was making money for him,” according to her testimony.
She told investigators she performed sex acts with 10 men during a January weekend and turned all the money over to Yahya Malik.
The also told investigators that he photographed her with his cell phone and posted the photos online, along with a phone number for clients to schedule “appointments.”
Some free websites advertise the services of prostitutes. The FBI shut down in June 2014, after allegedly linking it to child prostitution.
“There are a few sites which offer escort services, which seems innocuous enough, but it ends up being a way to channel human trafficking activity,” Iravani-Sani said.