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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 4, 2016

California Man Arraigned on Federal Sex Trafficking Charge in New Mexico

Prosecution Brought under Project Safe Childhood

ALBUQUERQUE – Cordny Henry, 29, of Oakland, Calif., was arraigned this morning in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., on a superseding indictment charging him with a sex trafficking charge.  Henry entered a not guilty plea to the superseding indictment.  Henry’s co-defendant, Juanita Williams, 27, of Pittsburg, Calif., previously entered a not guilty plea to the superseding indictment on May 2, 2016.

The superseding indictment, which was filed on April 26, 2016, charges Henry and Williams with commercial sex trafficking.  It alleges that Henry and Williams used force, threats of force and coercion to cause a minor child to engage in a commercial sex act.  According to the superseding indictment, Henry and Williams committed the crime in Bernalillo County, N.M., and elsewhere between Sept 2, 2015 and Sept. 12, 2015.  The superseding indictment modified an earlier filed indictment against Williams by adding Henry as a defendant.

According to court filings, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office initiated the investigation leading to the charge in the superseding indictment in mid-Sept. 2015, after the victim, who was then in California, contacted a local detective and reported that she had been the victim of sexual abuse.  The investigation revealed that the victim, who was then 13-years-old, allegedly had been trafficked for sex by Henry during the first two weeks of Sept. 2015.  Williams allegedly was identified as Henry’s accomplice.  Henry and Williams allegedly forced the victim to earn a minimum of $500 per day by engaging in sex with customers, and Henry allegedly kept the money generated by prostituting the victim.  Henry and Williams allegedly forced the victim to engage in commercial sex acts in Albuquerque and then transported her to Los Angeles, Calif., where the criminal activity continued. 

Charges initially were filed against Henry and Williams in March 2016, after the investigation identified them as the individuals who trafficked the victim.  Williams was arrested on March 15, 2016 and Henry was arrested on April 8, 2016.  Both remain in custody pending trial, which has yet to be scheduled.

If convicted of the crime charged in the superseding indictment, Henry and Williams each face a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years and a maximum penalty of life in prison.  Charges in indictments and criminal complaints are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the FBI and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Mease is prosecuting the case as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.  Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and DOJ’s Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.  For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/.

Topic: 
Human Trafficking
Project Safe Childhood
Updated May 4, 2016