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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Milton Man Sentenced for Sex Trafficking

BOSTON – A Milton man was sentenced today in federal court in Boston for federal sex trafficking charges. 

Duhamel Cassagnol, 31, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs to 17 years and three months in prison, five years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay restitution of approximately $13,249 to a group of four victims. In September 2018, Cassagnol pleaded guilty to sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion; engaging in a conspiracy to commit sex trafficking; and transporting three individuals for prostitution. In December 2017, Cassagnol was arrested along with Geneiva Whaley, 24, of Connecticut. In May 2018, Whaley pleaded guilty to one count of transportation of an individual for prostitution. In October 2018, she was sentenced to 12 months in prison and five years of supervised release.

Between approximately July 2014 and February 2016, Cassagnol worked with Whaley to prostitute at least four victims. Cassagnol and Whaley advertised the victims using online ad‑posting sites, including Backpage.com, and housed the victims in hotel rooms reserved in Whaley’s name in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and Florida. Using online advertisements, Cassagnol and Whaley attracted sex-for-a-fee clients whom they directed to the hotel rooms that housed their victims. Those victims generally had little or no control over what acts they were required to engage in or what fee would be charged for those acts. After the clients left, Cassagnol or Whaley collected the full proceeds from the victims, leaving the victims dependent on Cassagnol and Whaley for food and shelter.

Cassagnol and Whaley’s victims were all addicted to drugs, usually heroin, and to keep them compliant, Cassagnol and Whaley provided them with drugs in exchange for the income the women earned through prostitution. The victims were only entitled to drugs if they generated income. With three of the victims, Cassagnol was sometimes violent, and he threatened violence against all four. The violence included beating the victims and, in at least one instance, forcing a victim to use drugs against her will.

The charge of sex trafficking through force, fraud, or coercion provides for a sentence of no less than 15 years and up to life in prison, no less than five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking provides for a sentence of up to life in prison, no less than five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of transporting an individual for prostitution provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, no less than five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000. Each count also provides for mandatory restitution and potential forfeiture. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge of the Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, made the announcement today. Assistance with the investigation was provided by the Massachusetts State Police, Lexington and Needham Police Departments, and Vernon (Connecticut) Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian A. Pérez-Daple of Lelling’s Civil Rights Enforcement Team is prosecuting the case.

Topic(s): 
Human Trafficking
Component(s): 
Updated May 8, 2019