Brian Folks Convicted in First-Ever Sex Trafficking Trial in Vermont | Off Message

Brian Folks Convicted in First-Ever Sex Trafficking Trial in Vermont


  • Courtesy Of Burlington Police Department
  • Brian Folks
A jury found Brian Folks guilty Thursday evening of coercing numerous women addicted to heroin to prostitute themselves as part of a drug and sex ring he operated out of Burlington for several years.

The case, heard in U.S. District Court in Burlington, was the first involving sex trafficking to go before a jury in Vermont. Judge William Sessions presided over the two-week trial.

Kate O'Neill wrote about the allegations against Folks in April as part of Hooked, her ongoing Seven Days series on Vermont's opioid epidemic.
Folks faced 16 charges, including conspiracy to distribute heroin and crack, coercion of five women to perform commercial sex acts, and a firearms offense.

After about six hours of deliberation, the jury found Folks guilty on all counts but the weapons charge. Folks used a notepad to record each verdict as it was read but displayed no emotion.

The prosecution, led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Darrow, portrayed Folks as a manipulative pimp who used drugs and sexual violence to maintain a "harem" of prostitutes and drug runners.

Folks' attorneys, Mark Kaplan and Natasha Sen, impugned the credibility of the women who testified against him. Folks took the stand Wednesday and described himself as playing a supportive role in an operation that benefited the women equally.

Folks, who faces up to life in prison, will be sentenced at a future date.