GUNNISON, Utah (ABC4 News) – Todd Rettenberger claimed to be a changed man.
He’s currently in prison serving a one-to-15-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to human sex trafficking and money laundering.
He wants to be back out on the streets. Thursday, Rettenberger appeared before a hearing officer for the Utah Board of Pardons.
“I’ve lived a rough life, he said. “Ninety-percent has been caused by myself.”
Rettenberger is no stranger to the prison system. Murder, robbery, drugs and now human sex trafficking and money laundering is part of his criminal history.
“I basically took advantage of these women,” he told the hearing officer. “We engaged in drug use. We engaged in prostitution.”
Rettenberger forced women into prostitution. Any money they earned went into his pockets.
“To read the report Mr. Rettenberg(er), you were basically enslaving them,” said Craig Burr, the hearing officer. “You weren’t giving them any money. You kept the money.”
Rettenberger said he did give them money and drugs. But Burr said that money was used to pay for motel rooms and little else.
In 1996, Rettenberger was the driver of a getaway car in the murder of a motel clerk. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter and became a witness against the two men who were convicted of the murder. He was sentenced to five months in jail.
But he returned to prison for other crimes and was paroled in 2015. Three months later he turned to human sex trafficking.
“When I was released from prison I was working at a bad job and wasn’t making much money and I started getting into drugs and I was dating a female and she was also into drugs,” Rettenberger said. “Together we got into prostitution.”
But Rettenberger said he’s now a changed man. He claimed not to have squandered his time in prison and was saved when he found religion.
‘I’ve accepted Jesus Christ in my life and that’s a huge factor that I’ve never had in my life before,” he said.
Rettenberger said he’s remorseful for taking advantage of women and would apologize to them if he could. But he promised it won’t happen again.
“I’ve changed my life,” Rettenberger said. “This is the last time you’ll ever see me.”
Burr said his and others at the prison are concerned that once he is away from any supervision he’ll return to his old ways. Rettenberger again said he’s matured over the years and wants to shed his past.
For now, he’ll remain in prison until the entire board of pardons reviews his case.