The business manager for the Timberland Regional Library system was among more than a dozen people charged last week in connection with a prostitution and sex-trafficking ring involving Korean women in King County.
Olympia resident Richard Alexander Homchick, 49, was charged Thursday with promoting prostitution in the second-degree. Bail was set at $75,000. An arrest warrant was also issued Thursday, but the King County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed Tuesday that Homchick had not yet been arrested or booked.
Homchick’s arraignment is slated for Jan. 21 in King County Superior Court, and he will be booked at that time. Sgt. Cindi West said that the sheriff’s office had limited personnel and was unable to arrest Homchick during the initial sting last week, but said that “he will be sought out” and arrested if he fails to show up at his arraignment.
The ring was exposed through an investigation that included the King County Sheriff’s Office and the Bellevue Police Department. Investigators say nearly all of the exploited women were brought to the United States from South Korea and were forced into prostitution to pay off debts.
Much of the online prostitution activity flowed through a website called TheReviewBoard.net, which has between 18,000 and 20,000 members, documents show. Detectives obtained a search warrant for an email account belonging to Homchick that they say contained “several thousand emails” to and from other members of The League, an exclusive invitation-only group within The Review Board that has members from all over the United States.
Police allege Homchick’s participation in the ring included the development of a website called Kgirldelights.com, one of two websites The League used to promote Korean prostitutes and brothels, according to charging documents. That site promoted more than 300 sex workers in 2015 and received 1 million page views just in November.
A detective attended five “meet and greets” with ring members between June and October 2015. The detective reported receiving emails from Homchick and other members that discussed the prostitutes. Charging documents contain excerpts from graphic emails allegedly sent by Homchick that rate his experiences with particular prostitutes. Homchick is alleged to have posted and removed online ads for the prostituted women.
According to documents, the prostitution ring has “directly expanded and increased the market for exploited women in the region. As a result, numerous Asian brothels have sprung up in the region to respond directly to the demand for prostitution.”
The documents also state that Homchick “purchased sex many, many times (even multiple times a week), usually at a rate of $300 per hour, translating into tens of thousands of dollars a year.”
Timberland Regional Library placed Homchick on paid administrative leave last Friday because of the criminal charges, said Walter Bracy, the library system’s human resources manager.
No decision has been made on Homchick’s employment, and it is unknown if any of the alleged activities were done using library resources, said Bracy, who noted that the library system is “evaluating all of our options right now.”
The Timberland Regional Library is a public system that serves Thurston, Lewis, Mason, Pacific and Grays Harbor counties. As the business manager, Homchick worked with an operating budget of about $21.7 million in 2015. The library system includes 27 community libraries, two cooperative partnership library locations and four library kiosks, according to Timberland’s website.