Can testosterone therapy lead to sex trafficking? This Richland man claims it did

April 29, 2018 05:56 PM
Updated April 29, 2018 06:07 PM

A Richland man who allegedly recruited a teen girl into the commercial sex trade believes his testosterone supplements led to hypersexual behavior.

That is the defense theory that John R. Abrams Jr. plans to put before a federal jury in October, court documents show.

Abrams ? who also goes by John R. Pine ? claims his actions were involuntary while undergoing testosterone therapy, or supplementation.

He was evaluated as part of his sex-trafficking case by Dr. Richard B. Krueger, a New York physician who specializes in forensic psychiatry.

The expert witness will testify for the defense about Abrams? alleged misconduct and criminal responsibility, according to documents.

Abrams is charged in U.S. District Court with coercion and enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity and two counts of attempted child sex trafficking.

Krueger?s report states that Abrams ?has a very clear history of hypersexual behavior related to his treatment with testosterone,? federal prosecutors wrote in a court filing.

?I have observed this pattern of hypersexual behavior associated with testosterone therapy resulting in illegal behavior with several individuals whom I have evaluated and heard of this reaction from colleagues,? Krueger reportedly said. ?Since (Abrams) has discontinued testosterone injections, his hypersexual behavior has stopped.?

Krueger's opinion is that Abrams is a low risk to reoffend because he no longer is doing that treatment.

The statements were included in Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott T. Jones? motion to interview Dr. Marco De Santis.

De Santis, who specializes in endocrinology, was employed by Trios Health until earlier this year.

Abrams had gone to De Santis about a low sex drive. De Santis treated him with testosterone injections from October 2015 until Abrams' arrest in March 2017.

The crimes allegedly happened in late February 2017.

"There is certainly a link to just how bad he got in hypersexuality after his testosterone treatment," said defense attorney Jeremy B. Sporn of Yakima.

Jones recently argued before Senior Judge Ed Shea about the prosecution's interest in interviewing De Santis since the defense is putting Abrams' course of treatment at issue in this case.

The Kennewick doctor is the most knowledgeable about the supplementation and its effects on Abrams, Jones said.

There is no physician-patient privilege under federal law, but the state of Washington does recognize that confidentiality, particularly under criminal cases.

Jones noted that De Santis might be reluctant to speak with them since state law precludes such interviews. But this is a federal case, and Abrams waives any privilege if he intends to argue before a jury that the treatment caused the crime, the prosecutor said.

Jones said so far they have received 176 pages of medical records from the defense, but nothing that talks about the decision by De Santis to use testosterone supplements on Abrams or how he was doing during treatment.

Sporn told Judge Shea they have done an "overly broad" request to Trios for all medical records related to Abrams.

Sporn also informed the court he does not believe De Santis is aware this issue has been raised with one of his former patients.

Court documents show that Abrams communicated online with the girl "about arranging to traffic her for sexual purposes and financial gain."

The girl already had been building a trust relationship with Richland police Detective Athena Clark, and later reached out for help.

Clark got copies of the electronic conversations, which included Abrams "instructing (the teen girl) how to dress, wanting to teach her bedroom etiquette, arranging a photo shoot for advertisement and making arrangements with a female client to purchase (the girl) for sexual purposes," documents said.

Abrams allegedly met the girl in person and sexually assaulted her.

He worked as a network administrator at Trios Health when he was arrested last year.