States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
|May 3, 2011||
U.S. ATTORNEY, LAW ENFORCEMENT PARTNERS ANNOUNCE
U.S. Attorney David B. Fein and representatives of several federal, state and local law enforcement agencies today announced the results of “Operation Constant Vigilance,” a long-term, coordinated law enforcement effort to investigate and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children. Since June 2010, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has prosecuted 46 defendants who have, or are alleged to have, exploited children in violation of federal law. A major part of this effort has involved the arrest of 27 defendants on federal child exploitation charges, primarily the possession and distribution of child pornography.
Operation Constant Vigilance includes several child exploitation crimes, including
“For most, these crimes are impossible to comprehend, but for the children who have been sexually exploited, these crimes are all too real,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein. “The physical and emotional scars that the defendants inflict on children are hard, if not impossible, to outgrow. It is our duty to act on behalf of these vulnerable victims, and the commitment of our federal, state and local partners to Operation Constant Vigilance reflects the seriousness with which we treat these heinous crimes.”
Law enforcement agencies participating in Operation Constant Vigilance include the Federal Bureau of Investigation; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations; the United States Secret Service; the United States Postal Inspection Service; the United States Marshals Service; the Connecticut State Police Computer Crimes Unit; and the Hamden, Hartford, Milford and New Haven Police Departments.
“The Connecticut Computer Crimes Task Force, Innocent Images National Initiative Undercover Operation, was established by the FBI New Haven in 2002,” stated Kimberly K. Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New Haven Field Office. “Since its inception, 17 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies have participated on the Task Force and furthered its goal of protecting our children from on-line predators. We want to acknowledge our partners and more specifically, the hard work of the agents and officers who have dedicated themselves to this noble cause.”
The Connecticut Computer Crimes Task Force, which is housed at the main FBI office in New Haven, investigates crimes occurring over the Internet, including on-line crimes against children, and provides computer forensic review services for participating agencies. The Task Force currently includes members from the FBI, U.S. Secret Service, and the Hamden, Hartford, Milford and New Haven Police Departments. For more information about the Task Force, or to report child exploitation crimes, please contact the FBI at 203-777-6311.
“It is vitally important to protect children from individuals who attempt to take advantage of their innocence and exploit them on-line,” stated Robert Barrett, Resident Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service in New Haven. “The U.S. Secret Service, in partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut, as well as our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, will continue to combat child exploitation through the exhaustive investigation of these individuals.”
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, investigates large-scale producers and distributors of child pornography, as well as individuals who travel abroad for the purpose of engaging in sex with minors through its Cyber Crimes Center’s Child Exploitation Section (CES). The CES employs the latest technology to collect evidence and track the activities of individuals and organized groups who sexually exploit children through the use of web sites, chat rooms, newsgroups and peer-to-peer trading. The CES provides assistance to ICE-HSI field offices, coordinates major investigations and conducts clandestine operations throughout the world to identify and apprehend violators. Because child exploitation is a matter of global importance, CES works closely with law enforcement agencies worldwide.
“ICE-HSI prioritizes child exploitation cases with a firm commitment to providing the highest level of investigative support necessary to successfully prosecute them,” stated Bruce M. Foucart, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations. “Working as a team with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our partners in law enforcement sends a clear message to the public that these types of crimes will continue to receive our undivided attention.”
“The Postal Inspection Service will remain vigilant in focusing on individuals who prey upon our children,” stated Robert Bethel, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in New England. “Our partnership with other federal and state law enforcement agencies presents a tremendous opportunity to share information and resources. Together we will continue to aggressively identify, target and arrest those who exploit children.”
The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”) provides a comprehensive set of minimum standards for sex offender registration and notification in the United States and seeks to strengthen the nationwide network of sex offender registration and notification programs. In part, SORNA requires registered sex offenders to register and keep their registration current in each jurisdiction in which they reside, work, or go to school.“The United States Marshals Service is committed to working closely with our state and local partners in locating, apprehending and prosecuting unregistered sex offenders, in order to minimize the risk to our communities,” stated Joseph P. Faughnan, United States Marshal for the District of Connecticut.
The Computer Crimes and Electronic Evidence Unit of the Connecticut State Police is composed of state and local police officers, along with professional forensic examiners. The Unit conducts criminal investigations, assists other law enforcement agencies, provides training and performs forensic analysis of electronic evidence. Also, as an Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force member, Connecticut is a recipient of funding from the United States Department of Justice. The Unit has become a national leader in the fight against online child sexual exploitation. Sixty to seventy percent of the case load involved child victims.
“The Connecticut Department of Public Safety is committed to working in collaboration with both federal and local stakeholders combating and eliminating crimes against one of our most vulnerable populations, children,” stated Colonel Danny Stebbins of the Connecticut State Police. “The Connecticut State Police will continue to partner with the criminal justice community to ensure that Connecticut’s children and families are protected from individuals who prey upon our youth.”
Last year, in recognition of the work the Connecticut U.S. Attorney’s Office and its law enforcement partners have done in the area of child exploitation crimes, the Department of Justice provided funding to the District of Connecticut that allows the Office to have an Assistant United States Attorney dedicated to the prosecution of these crimes. Several additional Assistant United States Attorneys have also been directed to devote their time to prosecuting these cases.
U.S. Attorney Fein noted that many of the individuals charged as part of Operation Constant Vigilance occupied positions of trust in connection with children – where they were employed in occupations, did volunteer work in areas, or engaged in relationships that gave them easy and unquestioned access to children. Operation Constant Vigilance defendants include a doctor who was also a Boy Scout leader, a counselor at a sleep-away camp, and a middle school technical assistant who also volunteered for Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Last week, a police captain who was the second in command of the Granby Police Department was charged with possessing child pornography.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) estimates that 10 percent of those depicted in commonly traded images are infants and toddlers, and 67 percent are prepubescent children.
In an effort to send a message to individuals who are engaged in, or are contemplating engaging in, the possession and distribution of child pornography, U.S. Attorney Fein stated, “This is far from a victimless crime. Those who view and trade these images share a large responsibility for the abuse of the children in these images. Their abuse didn’t end the day the criminal material was produced. Their abuse continues with every subsequent distribution, every subsequent possession, every subsequent viewing. Your behavior creates the market for these images, which means you share the responsibility for the sexual abuse of children around the world.”
One of the cases in Operation Constant Vigilance involves a minor who was victimized in Connecticut several years ago. Tragically, that minor continues to be victimized today throughout the world as that series of images, all produced by a defendant currently being prosecuted, is reported to be the second most-viewed set of images in the world.
The mother of another victim whose sexual abuse was photographed has written a victim impact statement, which is submitted to the court every time her daughter’s image is identified during a child pornography prosecution. She writes, “It has been seven years since my daughter’s case has been revealed. Since then, I have been informed on a monthly basis of accounts where someone is being charged for having possession of her images that were on the Internet. These images will never be erased from the Internet and will never be erased from my daughter’s memory. The fact that someone says to view the images is a non-victim incident is absurd. The individuals who view these images are only feeding the perpetrator to continue creating and exchanging such images. Every time my daughter’s image is viewed, she is a victim all over again.”
U.S. Attorney Fein noted that the federal penalties associated with child exploitation crimes are severe. In addition to facing a lengthy, often mandatory, term of imprisonment, defendants prosecuted in the District of Connecticut face at least 10 years of court supervision following any period of incarceration. During that time, in addition to being a registered sex offender, a defendant will not be allowed to have any unsupervised contact with children, will be subject to random searches of their homes and places of work, and will have his computer and Internet use monitored.
As part of its public outreach efforts, the Department of Justice has launched a web site that highlights the work of the U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country. This new site, the “Briefing Room,” offers news, videos, photos, statistics, and other information on significant issues. Each month, the Briefing Room will feature a different Department of Justice priority area. The inaugural edition of the Briefing Room is dedicated to Project Safe Childhood (“PSC”), the Department of Justice initiative that is aimed at protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation. The site includes press releases on significant PSC cases, statistics on convictions and sentences in PSC cases, and prevention and Internet safety resources.
For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
To report cases of child exploitation, please visit www.cybertipline.com.
OPERATION CONSTANT VIGILANCE
U.S. Attorney Fein stressed, as to defendants whose matters are pending, charges are not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
On July 8, 2010, EDGARDO SENSI of Jensen Beach, Florida, pleaded guilty to child pornography and sexual tourism offenses related to his sexual abuse of minor girls in the United States and Nicaragua. The ICE-HSI investigation of this matter revealed that, between approximately 2001 to 2004, while he was a resident of Connecticut, Sensi conspired with a woman to coerce a minor victim girl, who was eight-years-old at the time, to engage in sexually explicit conduct. Sensi encouraged the victim girl to be filmed while Sensi and the woman engaged her in sexually explicit conduct, engaged in a lengthy grooming process that involved trickery and desensitizing the victim to accept the sexual abuse that she was subjected to, and enticed the victim girl to engage in sado-masochistic sex acts. In addition, in 2004 and 2005, Sensi made several trips to Nicaragua. In January 2004, while in Nicaragua, Sensi befriended a woman who was approximately 23-years-old and working as a maid. Sensi persuaded the woman to permit him to have access to her four-year-old daughter by providing her with benefits such as cash, a gold ring and perfume. Sensi also utilized luxury hotel rooms in Managua to engage in sex acts with the woman, and also discussed with her family his intention to marry her and provide financially for her. Through this coercion, Sensi had illicit sexual contact with the woman’s four-year-old daughter. Sensi also videotaped sex sessions that included both the 23-year-old woman and her victim daughter. When he is sentenced, Sensi faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 15 years and a maximum term of 95 years of imprisonment. The government believes that the applicable term of incarceration under the federal sentencing guidelines is 95 years.
On December 21, 2010, DOUGLAS PERLITZ was sentenced to 235 months of imprisonment, followed by 10 years of supervised release, for sexually abusing at least eight minor victims over the course of a decade in Haiti. Perlitz operated Project Pierre Toussaint (“PPT”), a school for boys in Cap-Haitien, Haiti. On August 18, 2010, Perlitz pleaded guilty to one count of traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct. The ICE-HSI investigation revealed that, at various times between 2001 and 2008, Perlitz traveled from airports in the U.S. to Haiti to engage in illicit sexual conduct with minors and did, in fact, engage in sexual conduct with minor boys who attended school at PPT. Perlitz enticed and persuaded the minors to comply with the sex acts by providing the promise of food and shelter and other benefits, including cash, cell phones, electronics, shoes, clothes, and other items. The government has alleged that, between 1998 and 2008, Perlitz victimized at least 18 minor boys. Six victims traveled from Haiti to offer testimony at the sentencing.
Production of Child Pornography
If convicted of the charge of production of child pornography a defendant faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 15 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 40 years.
March 24, 2011, JONATHAN MICHAEL ZAHRA of Plainville waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty to one count of manufacture of child pornography. In March 2009, ICE Homeland Security Investigations received information through the Cyber Crimes Center in Fairfax, Virginia, that an international investigation involving crimes against children had identified Zahra as possibly grooming minors and having engaged in sexual contact with minors. At the time, Zahra was a technology assistant at a Plainville Middle School and a member of the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program in that town. After receiving information from ICE-HSI, the Plainville Police department executed a search and seizure warrant at Zahra’s residence on March 12, 2009, and seized numerous computer-related components and media. Subsequent forensic analysis of the seized items by ICE-HSI disclosed photographs of a minor victim engaged in sexually explicit contact while in Zahra’s home. The investigation has revealed that Zahra took sexually explicit photographs of the minor victim in 2008. Zahra, who has been in custody since May 1, 2009, awaits sentencing.
On October 19, 2010, WILLIAM OEHNE of Amelia, Virginia, pleaded guilty to an indictment charging him with one count of producing child pornography and one count of distributing child pornography. From 2004 to 2006, when he was a resident of Fairfield County, Connecticut, Oehne photographed himself engaging in sexually explicit conduct with a girl who was approximately eight-years-old when the abuse began. Oehne engaged the victim in a lengthy grooming process involving trickery and threats, and he enticed her to engage in sex acts by promising her gifts of clothes and electronics. Oehne then distributed the sexually explicit photographs over the internet. Oehne who has been detained in federal custody since his arrest in Virginia on March 31, 2009 awaits sentencing. The government believes that the applicable term of incarceration under the federal sentencing guidelines is 50 years.
Receipt and Distribution of Child Pornography
If convicted of the charge of possession, receipt and distribution of child pornography, a defendant faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
On July 9, 2010, members of the Connecticut Computer Crimes Task Force arrested CARL G. KOPLIN, a family practice physician in Vernon, on a criminal complaint charging him with receipt and distribution of child pornography. The complaint alleges that, between September 2009 and May 2010, an FBI special agent used the Internet to launch a publicly available peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing program. Using the P2P program, the undercover agent downloaded approximately 300 images and videos of child pornography from the shared directories of a user with an Internet Protocol (IP) address that was subsequently identified as belonging to a subscriber at Koplin’s residence in Tolland.
On August 3, 2010, members of the Connecticut Computer Crimes Task Force arrested MICHAEL MARTARANO of New Haven on a criminal complaint charging him with receipt and distribution of child pornography. The complaint alleges that, between June 2007 and July 2009, Martarano received and distributed images of child pornography.
On September 16, 2010, members of the Connecticut Crimes Task Force arrested TRAVIS CARLSON of Winsted on a criminal complaint charging him with possession, receipt and distribution of child pornography. The complaint alleges that Carlson utilized an Internet file sharing network to receive and distribute images of child pornography.
On October 14, 2010, STEPHEN ULISSE, 49, of Rocky Hill, pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of child pornography. Between October 2004 and October 2006, Ulisse used various peer-to-peer file sharing software programs to receive hundreds of images of child pornography over the Internet. The peer-to-peer programs allowed other users with similar software to download the images of child pornography that Ulisse had received and stored on his computer. On February 7, 2011, Ulisse was sentenced to 70 months of imprisonment, followed by 10 years of supervised release.
On November 5, 2010, members of the Connecticut Computer Crimes Task Force arrested ADAM LEE PETROWSKI of Griswold on a criminal complaint charging him with possession of child pornography and receipt and distribution of child pornography. It is alleged that Petrowski used a peer-to-peer file sharing program to receive and distribute images of child pornography. In January 2010, law enforcement conducted a search of PETROWSKI’s residence and seized a desktop computer. Forensic analysis of the computer has allegedly revealed at least 2300 identified images and videos of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
On November 22, 2010, members of the Connecticut Computer Crimes Task Force arrested JUAN CARLOS MELENDEZ, a citizen of Peru residing in Stamford, on a criminal complaint charging him with possession of child pornography and receipt and distribution of child pornography. It is alleged that Melendez used a peer-to-peer file sharing program to receive and distribute images of child pornography. In March 2010, law enforcement conducted a search of Melendez’ residence and seized computer components, including an external hard drive. Forensic analysis of the external hard drive has allegedly revealed at least 4000 identified images and videos of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
On December 8, 2010, members of the Connecticut Computer Crimes Task Force arrested STEVEN DONALD LEWIS, of Plainville, at his dormitory residence at the University of Connecticut on a criminal complaint charging him with possession of child pornography and receipt and distribution of child pornography. The complaint alleges that, in November 2010, a Task Force officer logged into a publically available Internet file sharing program and downloaded 34 images of child pornography from a shared directory maintained by Lewis.
On January 18, 2011, members of the Connecticut Computer Crimes Task Force arrested DAVID WAYNE PILLSBURY of Meriden on a criminal complaint charging him with possession of child pornography and receipt and distribution of child pornography. The complaint alleges that in December 2010, an FBI special agent acting in an undercover capacity logged into a publicly available Internet file sharing program and downloaded 22 images of child pornography from a shared directory maintained by Pillsbury.
Possession of Child Pornography
If convicted of the charge of possession of child pornography, a defendant faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years.
On December 3, 2010, members of the Connecticut Computer Crimes Task Force arrested JOSEPH CALVIN LAUGHNER of Naugatuck on a criminal complaint charging him with possession of child pornography. It is alleged that Laughner used a peer-to-peer file sharing program to download images of child pornography. In December 2009, law enforcement conducted a search of Laughner’s residence and seized three computers and other computer-related items. Forensic analysis of the items seized has revealed more than 300 images and videos of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
On December 9, 2010, MICHAEL HOLM, of Branford pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography. On May 29, 2008, agents assigned to the Connecticut Computer Crimes Task Force conducted a court-authorized search at HOLM’s residence and seized a computer. Subsequent forensic analysis of the computer has revealed between 150 and 300 images of child pornography, including images of children under the age of 12 years engaged in acts of bondage and bestiality. Holm awaits sentencing.
On December 16, 2010, members of the Connecticut Computer Crimes Task Force arrested MATTHEW WALLACE, of Ledyard, Connecticut, and Westerly, Rhode Island, on a criminal complaint charging him with possession of child pornography. The complaint alleges that, in January 2010, a Milford Police officer assigned to the Task Force logged into a publicly available Internet file sharing program and downloaded five images of child pornography from a shared directory maintained by Wallace. In May 2010, law enforcement agents conducted a court-authorized search of Wallace’s Ledyard residence and seized computers and hard drives. Preliminary forensic examination of the seized items has revealed approximately 130 identified images and videos of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
On February 17, 2011, ICE Homeland Security Investigations agents arrested ALBERT BARNES, also known as “Fritz,” of Danbury on a criminal complaint charging him with one count of possession of child pornography. The complaint alleges that, in November 2008, ICE- HSI initiated an undercover investigation related to an illegal web site that allowed access to child pornographic image and video files for a monthly fee. It is alleged that, on November 16, 2008, Barnes accessed the member-restricted website to obtain numerous visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. In July 2010, ICE HSI agents seized two desktop computers from Barnes’ residence. Subsequent analysis of the computers has allegedly revealed approximately 150 suspected child pornography images.
On March 3, 2011, JEFFREY ANDREW RICHARDS of Burlington waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography. In October 2006, Richard used his work-issued computer and compact discs to amass a collection of child pornography. He possessed more than 600 images and videos in his child pornography collection, including many images of children under the age of 12 engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
On March 25, 2011, members of the Connecticut Computer Crimes Task Force arrested PETER C. JOHNS of Wallingford on federal criminal complaint charging him with possession of child pornography. The complaint alleges that in November 2010, a detective assigned to the Richmond (Va.) Field Office of the FBI, acting in an undercover capacity, logged into a publicly available Internet file sharing program and downloaded several images and videos of child pornography from a shared directory maintained by Johns.
On April 6, 2011, RAMON PAUL FERNANDEZ of Bridgeport waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography. On September 19, 2009, a Milford Police detective assigned to the Connecticut Computer Crimes Task Force connected to a peer-to-peer Internet file sharing network in an effort to identify individuals distributing child pornography. The investigation revealed that images of child pornography had been sent from an IP address assigned to an account holder at an apartment in Ansonia where Fernandez sometimes resided. On December 18, 2009, law enforcement officers executed a federal search and seizure warrant at the apartment and seized a desktop computer. Subsequent forensic analysis of the hard drive of the seized computer confirmed the existence of child pornography images and videos.
On April 26, 2011, DAVID L. BOURQUE, a captain with the Granby Police Department, was arrested on a federal criminal complaint charging him with possession of child pornography. The complaint alleges that, on two occasions in March 2011, a Connecticut State Police trooper assigned to the Connecticut State Police Computer Crimes Unit, acting in an undercover capacity, logged into a publicly available Internet file sharing program and downloaded several images of suspected child pornography from an account maintained by Bourque. On April 11, 2011, members of the Connecticut State Police were given consent to search Bourque’s office and work computers at the Granby Police Department. The search revealed a laptop and other computer components, including an external hard drive, that were personally owned by Bourque. These items, most of which were encrypted, were seized pursuant to a state search warrant. Preliminary analysis of one of Bourque’s encrypted hard drives has revealed thousands of images and videos of child pornography.
(If a defendant qualifies as a second offender under the relevant statutes, he faces increased minimum and maximum penalties.)
Internet Enticement of a MinorOn January 24, 2011, JASON BETENSKY, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to one count of using the internet to entice a minor to engage in illicit sexual activity. From approximately 2003 to 2007, Betensky was employed as a counselor at a summer camp in North Carolina. As a camp counselor, he learned information about the campers, about their relationships with one another, and about what happened to them during the summer. When camp was not in session, Betensky learned additional information about the campers from social networking sites on the Internet and used the Internet to contact a number of the campers. When contacting the campers, Betensky posed as a young female, sometimes pretending to have met them at camp. Betensky used the information that he obtained to appear legitimate, including information about “mutual” friends and about events that took place at the camp. After starting an online relationship with a camper, Betensky would persuade the camper to engage in sexually explicit conversations. Betensky also persuaded his victims to send him sexually explicit pictures and videos of themselves. Betensky reciprocated by sending pornographic pictures of unknown females that he obtained on the Internet. He also recorded video feeds that were sent by the victims. Betensky then used the pictures and recorded videos of a victim to pressure the victim if the victim attempted to end the online relationship with him. Specifically, Betensky threatened to send, and on occasion did send, copies of the pictures and videos to friends and family members of the victim. Through this scheme, Betensky was able to coerce at least nine campers, all of whom he knew to be under the age of 18, to send him sexually explicit images and videos of themselves. The FBI arrested Betensky on September 20, 2010. When he is sentenced, Betensky faces a minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life.
On August 6, 2010, EUGENE C. BOISVERT, 39, of Springfield, Massachusetts, was arrested by members of the Connecticut Computer Crimes Task Force after he allegedly used the Internet to attempt to persuade a minor to engage in sexual activity. The federal criminal complaint alleges that, beginning in June 2010, Boisvert engaged in numerous Internet conversations with a person he believed to be a girl who was under the age of 18, but who was, in fact, an undercover Milford Police officer working with the Task Force and posing as the girl. Through these Internet conversations, Boisvert arranged with the “girl” to meet for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity. He was arrested after he arrived at a location in Milford where he had previously arranged to meet the “girl.” Boisvert is awaiting trial.
Sex Trafficking of a Minor
On November 9, 2010, a federal grand jury in Hartford returned a five-count indictment charging BRUCE DAMICO, formerly residing in Hartford, Providence, Rhode Island, and Queens, New York, with child sex trafficking and related offenses. The indictment alleges that, between July 2009 and January 2010, Damico recruited, harbored and transported a minor to engage in commercial sex acts, and that he benefitted financially from his participation in that venture. The indictment further alleges that Damico transported that minor across state lines for the purpose of her engaging in prostitution, and that he used the Internet to post sexually explicit photographs of the minor when advertising the minor for commercial sex. The indictment also alleges that Damico transported two other women across state lines for the purpose of engaging in prostitution. Damico has been detained in state custody since his arrest by the Bloomfield Police on January 22, 2010. He is awaiting trial.
On January 20, 2011, JARELL SANDERSON of New Britain pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of children and two counts of sex trafficking of children. Sanderson and co-defendant Hassanah Delia recruited two 14-year-old girls to work as prostitutes. In July 2009, Sanderson and Delia transported the girls to hotels in Hartford and East Hartford where the girls engaged in sexual conduct with men in exchange for money that was paid either to Sanderson or Delia. The men who paid to engage in sexual conduct with the girls had responded to an advertisement placed on a website by Sanderson by calling a phone that was answered by Delia, who then set up appointments for the girls. On December 7, 2010, Delia, of East Hartford, pleaded guilty to two counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion. Both defendants await sentencing.
On February 8, 2011, a federal grand jury sitting in Bridgeport returned an indictment charging three men for their alleged involvement in an interstate prostitution conspiracy that included the sex trafficking of two minor victims. The indictment alleges that, between October and December 2010, THEODORE BRIGGS, also known as “PeeJaye,” of Norwalk, GIOVANNI VAZQUEZ, also known as “Screech,” of Norwalk, and HARRY FRANKLIN, also known as “Streets” and “Uncle Stacks,” of the Bronx, New York, and others, conspired to transport two minor victims across state lines with the intent that the minors would engage in prostitution. The alleged victims were 14-years-old and 17-years-old at the time. The indictment further alleges that the three defendants transported other victims across state lines to engage in prostitution.
On January 25, 2011, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging GEORGE PATRICK PERKERT, previously of Bridgeport, Connecticut and Andalucia, Alabama, with violating the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”) by failing to update his sexual offender registration in Connecticut and by failing to register in Alabama as a sex offender when he relocated to that jurisdiction in approximately July 2009. If convicted, PERKERT faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years.
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