ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. – A Denver Police Department sergeant who had previously been named in a lawsuit as having identified the victim of a child sex trafficking case in a film will join the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office’s special human trafficking team.
District Attorney George Brauchler announced Daniel Steele’s hiring as a criminal investigator in the office’s human trafficking team Wednesday.
Steele, most-recently a sergeant working for the Denver Police Department’s Special Investigations Division, has worked in law enforcement for more than 22 years and is widely considered an expert in combatting sex trafficking.
He was one of the investigators who helped found the Rock Mountain Innocence Lost Task Force and supervised it for five years.
But he was also named in a lawsuit filed late last year, in which he was accused of disclosing personal details, including the name and photograph, of a child sex trafficking victim from Denver in a movie that ran on Netflix called “Tricked.”
Though he was not a defendant in the lawsuit, Steele’s actions were the crux of it. The defendant in the suit, film company Three Generations Inc., settled for an undisclosed amount with the plaintiff in February.
Brauchler’s human trafficking unit was founded after his office received funding from the four counties his district represents in 2015.
“These cases are frequently difficult to prosecute,” said Brauchler. “Victims can be reluctant to testify, and witnesses frequently come from troubled backgrounds and tough circumstances. Our team understands the complexities and works to hold traffickers accountable and help vulnerable victims. I’m pleased to be able to add Dan Steele’s expertise to our efforts.”