A San Diego woman's personal investigation exposed the local pickup artist community and led police to three men who were ultimately convicted of raping her and sentenced to prison.
Jason Berlin, 28, is the third defendant sentenced in the investigation launched three years ago. He along with Jonas Isaac Dick and Alexander Markham Smith, took the victim to an apartment in the Gaslamp Quarter where they raped her.
Berlin later bragged about the act on a website designed to teach men how to "up your lay count."
Berlin's victim, identified only as Jane Doe, faced him in a downtown courtroom Friday. Her recollection of the night she was raped was so powerful, one person in the gallery began sobbing uncontrollably and left the room.
She read archived posts from "Efficient Pickup" a locally-operated website offering a "boot camp" on how to meet, seduce and sleep with women in one night." Berlin was a client.
The young professional spent $2,000 a month to rent a downtown apartment the group called "The Train Station." The location was key, prosecutors say, so as to quickly move intoxicated women from the bars into the bedroom.
Jane Doe told the court Friday that Berlin's own blog posts on the website revealed his goal was to have sex with 15 girls in three months.
However, the boot camp, apartment and website were shut down - exposed after the victim went to San Diego police describing what happened to her on October 13, 2013.
The victim was found by a friend unconscious, face down on a bed and surrounded by vomit with two of the defendants nude around her.
“That night is still fuzzy for me. I vaguely remember being woken up and told to put my dress back on,” the victim said.
The friend dragged the victim from the room and they reported what happened to San Diego Police, according to the initial criminal complaint.
Police launched an investigation but it wasn't until the victim used her knowledge about computers to track down the defendants.
“The only reason they made the arrest was you," Judge Jeffrey F. Fraser told the victim Friday. "You put together the packet and dropped it off on the detective’s desk.”
Berlin's own words, bragging about the assault, along with similar posts by Dick led to his arrest and ultimately, his conviction of raping a woman who was intoxicated.
“They were so brazen and so proud of what they did,” Deputy District Attorney Lisa Fox said. “He was a student and he liked what he was learning and he wanted more and more and more.”
Fox described so-called "train games" in which the men took turns having sex with women they knew were drunk.
“He did not still, three years later, understand what he did and show remorse,” Fox said. “He did not understand the gravity of what he did to the victim in this case.”
Berlin, described as a socially awkward college graduate with a 3.42 GPA does not have the ability to show emotion because he lives with Asperger’s or an Autism Spectrum Disorder, his defense attorney argued.
In fact, the defendant showed no emotion when he addressed the judge and apologized for his actions. However, he cried openly when his mother turned and faced the victim and apologized to her.
"I became impatient and embarrassed when I was unsuccessful in developing friendships and relationships with women," Berlin said. "I then made the biggest mistake of my life and began paying thousands of dollars for what I naively believed was a mentorship."
His instructors were also convicted.
Jonas Dick pleaded guilty in January 2016 to rape of an intoxicated woman. He also pleaded guilty an additional forcible rape of a 17-year-old woman, which was discovered during this investigation, according to the San Diego County District Attorney's Office. He was sentenced to eight years in the state prison.
Alex Smith took his case to trial and was convicted by a jury of both counts: rape of an unconscious person and rape of an intoxicated woman, the DA's office said. He was sentenced to eight years in prison in December.
The website has since been shut down.
"This mentality is disturbing, it's dangerous, it's detrimental," Fox said adding that rape by intoxication is often really difficult to prove.
This case was unique.
“But for them bragging and blogging about it online, we probably wouldn’t be here today," she said.