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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 31, 2019

Delaware Man Sentenced to 25 Years in Federal Prison for Sex Trafficking a 15-Year-Old Girl

“This Lengthy Sentence Should Send a Message that Sex Trafficking Will Not Be Tolerated in Maryland”

Baltimore, Maryland – Chief U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar sentenced Steven M. Williams, a/k/a “Brother Ray,” a/k/a “Ray,” age 39, formerly of Delaware, today to 25 years in federal prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release, for sex trafficking of a child by force, fraud, and coercion.  Upon his release from prison, Williams will be required to register as a sex offender in the places where he resides, where he is employed, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).

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.

“Children cannot consent to have sex for money.  Human traffickers such as Steven Williams compel their victims to work for little or no compensation, often using violence and threats to force their victims to engage in prostitution,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur.  “This lengthy sentence should send a powerful message that sex trafficking will not be tolerated in Maryland. Through the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, law enforcement is working with non-profit organizations to help human trafficking victims and prosecute the traffickers.  Working to end human trafficking is a priority for the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office.”

According to his plea agreement, the victim, Girl 1, engaged in commercial sex acts with men in Delaware, along with Williams’ co-defendant Jessica L. Schaefer, an adult.  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 co-defendant Harry 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 adult 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.

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.  Williams and his co-defendants 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.

Co-defendant Harry E. Rivers, a/k/a “Hakeem” and “Pots,” age 29, also of Delaware, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a child and was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison.   Jessica L. Schaefer, a/k/a “Tutti,” age 24, of Pennsylvania, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a child and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 6, 2019.

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 and the Elkton Police Department for their work in the investigation and thanked 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 assistance.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patricia C. McLane and Zachary A. Myers, who are prosecuting the case.

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Topic(s): 
Human Trafficking
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Marcia Murphy (410) 209-4854
Updated May 31, 2019