Delaware Man Sentenced to 12 Years in Federal Prison for Conspiring to Commit Sex Trafficking of a 15-Year-Old Girl
Provided Narcotics to the Victim and her Commercial Sex Customers and Helped to Arrange “Dates” for the Girl
Baltimore, Maryland – Chief U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar sentenced Harry E. Rivers, a/k/a “Hakeem” and “Pots,” age 29, of Delaware, today to 12 years in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a child.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Acting Special Agent in Charge Jennifer L. Moore of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Chief Matthew Donnelly of the Elkton Police Department.
“When an adult profits from sex with a child, that is human trafficking, period,” said Maryland U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “Adults, like Harry Rivers, who encourage or profit from sexual exploitation of children face lengthy terms in federal prison, where there are no suspended sentences and no parole.”
According to his plea agreement, Rivers conspired with co-defendants Steven M. Williams and Jessica L. Schaefer to traffic a 15-year-old girl to engage in commercial sex acts. According to Rivers’ Williams’ and Schaefer’s plea agreements, Schaefer and the victim, Girl 1, engaged in commercial sex acts with men in Delaware. Girl 1 was 15 years old and a resident of Pennsylvania, but lived with her father in Delaware. Schaefer posted ads of herself for commercial sex purposes. Williams responded to one of the ads and determined that Schaefer and Girl 1 would work for him. Williams provided Schaefer and Girl 1 with crack cocaine and they were eventually in debt to Williams. Girl 1 and Schaefer then engaged in commercial sex acts to pay off their debt to Williams. Girl 1 and Schaefer gave any proceeds earned from performing commercial sex acts to Williams. To facilitate the commercial sex acts, Williams rented hotel rooms in his name or the names of men paying for the commercial sex acts, and Rivers provided narcotics to the females and their customers, and helped to arrange “dates” for the females.
In July 2017, Williams drove Girl 1 from Delaware to Elkton, Maryland, separating her from Schaefer. Girl 1 woke up in a motel in Elkton with another sex worker, AH. At Williams’ direction, AH posted an ad featuring a picture of Girl 1 on a website used to advertise and solicit for commercial sex, including the sexual exploitation of minors. While in Maryland, Girl 1 performed commercial sex acts and gave the monies she earned to Williams. Williams physically abused Girl 1 when he thought she was not giving him all the money she earned, and also displayed his firearm to her in a threatening manner.
On July 13, 2017, Girl 1 attempted to leave and hid in AH’s hotel room. Williams, Rivers, and Schaefer traveled from Newark, Delaware to Elkton, to take Girl 1 back to Delaware, to ensure that she did not leave Williams’ employ. Williams and Rivers each had a firearm which they used to threaten AH, demanding that she produce Girl 1. Schaefer had a taser, which she ignited, barged into AH’s room, and took Girl 1 from the room against her will. Rivers, Williams, and Schaefer drove Girl 1 back to Delaware so that she could continue to engage in commercial sex acts.
On July 14, 2017, AH reported the abduction of Girl 1 to law enforcement. Girl 1 was located and rescued in Newark, Delaware the next day, and the defendants were arrested.
Steven M. Williams, a/k/a “Brother Ray”, a/k/a “Ray,” age 39, formerly of Delaware, previously pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of a child by force, fraud, and coercion, and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 17, 2019. Jessica L. Schaefer, a/k/a “Tutti,” age 24, of Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a child and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 6, 2019. Williams and Schaefer face a maximum sentenced of life in prison.
As part of their plea agreements, the defendants will be required to register as sex offenders in the places where they reside, where they are employees, and where they are students, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
This case was investigated by the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, formed in 2007 to discover and rescue victims of human trafficking while identifying and prosecuting offenders. Members include federal, state and local law enforcement, as well as victim service providers and local community members. For more information about the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, please visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/md/priorities_human.html.
U.S. Attorney Robert Hur commended the FBI, the Elkton Police Department, the Newark (Delaware) Police Department, the Wilmington (Delaware) Police Department, the Cecil County Department of Social Services, the Cecil County State's Attorney's Office, and the Delaware Department of Justice for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patricia C. McLane and Zachary A. Myers, who are prosecuting the case.
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