The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana announced the filing of a nine count federal indictment this afternoon against Jerry Mitchell, aka Tre da Great, age 24, of Indianapolis. The charges include sex trafficking, sex trafficking of a child, transporting a child to engage in prostitution and the production of child pornography. The indictment follows Mitchell’s arrest by Indianapolis law enforcement and the filing of charges by Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry, and comes as federal and local authorities have joined forces to combat human trafficking and child exploitation.
“This indictment shows the importance of partnerships across all levels to address the horrific crime of human trafficking,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the division. “The Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorneys offices across the country will continue their aggressive work to combat these types of crimes.”
“The scourge of human trafficking is a global crisis, but the fight against modern day slavery begins right here at home,” said U.S. Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett for the Southern District of Indiana. “That is why we have teamed up with law enforcement partners across this state and around the country to combat the types of horrific abuse that are alleged in this case.”
According to the federal indictment and state probable cause affidavit, an investigation into Mitchell’s alleged criminal activity began in July 2013, when officers with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department were flagged down and informed by a woman that her niece, a reported runaway, had returned home and reported she had been the victim of sexual assault. Further investigation resulted in the identification of a suspect who went by the name of Tre, an alleged alias of Mitchell, as well as information indicating that the defendant was running a prostitution operation in the near-northside area of Indianapolis.
The indictment alleges that from May 2013 through June 27, 2013, Mitchell engaged in sex trafficking by means of force, fraud or coercion. The allegations include the trafficking of females between the ages of 19 and 21, as well as three minors aged 12, 16 and 17. Mitchell also allegedly transported the minors to facilitate their prostitution activities and sexually assaulted these female minors on a number of occasions. The federal indictment alleges that on June 22, 2013, Mitchell also made a video recording the sexual abuse of the 12-year-old female victim.
Mitchell had an initial appearance before a federal magistrate judge in Indianapolis this afternoon, and was ordered detained pending trial. Mitchell faces a statutory maximum sentence of life in federal prison if convicted of all counts. Under federal law, the defendant would be required to serve a minimum of 85 percent of his prison term within a correctional facility.
This case was the result of a collaborative investigation spearheaded by the Indiana Protection for Abused and Trafficked Humans (IPATH) Task Force, one of 42 task forces nationwide funded by the Department of Justice to address the issue of human trafficking. IPATH was created in 2006 and is chaired by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Indiana Attorney General’s Office. The group meets regularly to collaborate on cases and projects, provide additional training to law enforcement and raise awareness in our community about human trafficking.
Informations, indictments and criminal complaints are only a charge and are not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.