Man gets 5 to 8 years in prison for human trafficking

DANVERS — He'd gone to community college, worked as a paralegal and volunteered at his family's church, his lawyer said.

But Steven Diaz, 34, had also racked up a list of convictions for crimes such as disseminating obscene material harmful to a minor, witness intimidation, assault and battery and firearms charges, as well as violating at least one of the three restraining orders issued against him, prosecutors say.

And in the spring of 2014, he added human trafficking and deriving support from prostitution to that list, after a Salem Superior Court jury concluded last week that he'd lured a desperate young heroin addict into working for him as a prostitute at several motels on the North Shore.

"I am puzzled that Mr. Diaz, who has done some excellent things, is capable of such cruelty to a person," Judge John Lu said Friday as he sentenced Diaz to five to eight years in state prison.

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