By Kate Conger
By Brian Rinker
By Rachel Swan
By Anna Pulley
By Erin Sherbert
By Chris Roberts
By Erin Sherbert
By Rachel Swan
Robinson did pride himself on being able to make a whore out of any woman, by tapping into her natural desire to do perverse things.
"Deep down inside every woman, there's a part that wonders what it would be like," he said. "And I've never met a woman who only does it once. It's like those Lay's potato chips -- 'Betcha can't eat just one!'"
He bragged that he could get women to do whatever he wanted -- not just sell sex. "I wouldn't say it was brainwashing," he said. "I became a master manipulator."
A former member of his stable, Jackie Anderson, said Robinson "has a gift for language, and you get kinda caught up." Anderson, now 39 and a Santa Rosa hairdresser, said Robinson befriended her when she was a teenager in San Francisco. "He would take me to the movies, and we'd talk about life," she said. She later became his baby sitter, living with his family and stable in Las Vegas. Before long, however, Robinson turned her out.
"He takes those weaknesses -- the need to be loved and cared for -- and I don't want to say exploits them ...." Anderson refused to finish her thought, stating that she didn't want to jeopardize her long friendship with Robinson. (Their families still get together for barbecues and birthday parties.)
"We lived a simple lifestyle," Anderson said of her years working for Robinson. "There were chores, we came home and had our naps, went to the cleaners, went shopping. I wore jeans during the day. I remember there was one young woman who got off into drugs, and there was a big argument. That was the code of ethics: no needles, no getting drunk. Stay focused."
After a scary experience with a john, Robinson allowed her to stop working.
"He's basically a decent person," she said. "I knew there was going to be a transformation [in him] before it happened."
Robinson admitted that he "may have led people into a lifestyle that was unsavory. And in doing so, I may have altered the course of their life. I don't feel good about it, but I'm not sad about it. The door was always open. I never made anybody stay with me against their will."
In 1977, Robinson was convicted on a misdemeanor weapons charge (concealing a gun under the seat of his Cadillac in Berkeley) and paid a $40 fine. Otherwise, he evaded the law and never served time in prison.
Although he claims to have enjoyed all the perks of the job -- Cadillacs, women, tailor-made outfits, jewelry, champagne, and cocaine, Robinson said he was never fully satisfied. He remembered driving along the Grapevine on Interstate 5 in the early '70s, with two hookers and $25,000 in his car.
"I said to myself, 'This is really fucking boring,'" he recalled. "'There's gotta be something else.'"
When he pulled into Bakersfield, Robinson saw "little people on their way to work, going into the little coffeehouses, smoke coming out of the smokestacks."
"I thought, 'Even though I'm gettin' all this shit, I would give it all up just to have a normal life.' I started thinking of ways to escape it," he said. But over a decade passed, and Robinson couldn't stop pimping.
"It's an addiction," he said. "You're gettin' sometimes $2,000 a day. You get so you come to expect it."
Tragedy opened an escape hatch. In 1989, Robinson's brother Ken was in an automobile accident that left him a quadriplegic. Several weeks later, their birth father died from cirrhosis of the liver.
"I never particularly cared for that guy," said Robinson. "But when he died, I cried. That's when I realized I loved him."
Robinson plunged into despair and dissolution. For months he regularly binged on cocaine, sometimes failing to return to the Richmond home he shared with his wife and kids.
"He wasn't even dressin' or nothin'," recalled Rosalind in her raspy voice. She finally put her foot down, telling him to either get into detox or get himself "a good shot of Jesus." Robinson chose the latter, and accompanied Roz to church. He was baptized and momentarily transformed.
"When I came outta the water, I was speaking in tongues," he said. He knew it was time for a career change.
But Robinson, then 41, was in a bind. He had established a middle-class lifestyle for his family based on money earned from pimping. He had a $168,000 mortgage on the Richmond house, and needed a job that paid a decent salary. But he had no college degree and no legal work experience to list on his résumé, other than a short stint as a security guard.
"I don't like to be dirty, so I'm not going to work under the hood of a car," he said. "I'm not going to work at McDonald's neither."
Given his recent epiphany, he first tried the church. After a year at a local Bible college, he earned a certificate in evangelism. But the process left him disillusioned. He saw greed in collection baskets. And after careful reading of the Scripture, he came to view Jesus as just an ordinary guy.