News and Press Releases

Cleveland man sentenced to 20 years in prison for operating sex trafficking ring with a minor

Nov. 30, 2012

A Cleveland man was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for operating a sex trafficking ring that forced a child into prostitution, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cleveland office.

Ernest McClain, 28, was sentenced to 240 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster.
He previously pleaded guilty to three counts: sex trafficking of a minor and transportation of a minor to engage in prostitution and possession of child pornography.

Co-defendant Chardee Barfield was previously sentenced to 70 months in prison.

“The conduct described in this case is appalling,” Dettelbach said. “This defendant took a teen runaway and, instead of getting her help, sold her body for his own financial gain.”

Anthony said: “The FBI and its partners are committed to rescuing victims of this horrible crime and bringing these predators to justice.”

From October 1, 2011, through December 5, 2011, McClain and Barfield recruited, enticed, harbored, provided, obtained and maintained, by any means, a person knowing, or in reckless disregard of the fact, that the person had not attained the age of 18 years and would be caused to engage in a commercial sex act, according to court documents.

Also, from on or about December 16, 2011, through December 31, 2011, McClain and Barfield transported a 15-year-old girl from Ohio to Pennsylvania with the intent that the girl engage in prostitution, according to court documents.

The 15-year-old runaway told investigators that McClain and Barfield forced her to prostitute herself 10 times a day over a month-long period, with a total of 200 men, according to an affidavit filed in the case.

McClain and Barfield used web sites, including, to advertise the prostitution operation, according to the affidavit.

Another person told investigators that McClain beat girls who prostituted for him to ensure they kept working for him, according to the affidavit.

This case is being prosecuted by Northern District of Ohio Assistant United States Attorney Michael A. Sullivan.  The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Wickliffe and Mentor police departments.


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