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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Rhode Island

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 9, 2019

Group Home Supervisor Sentenced for Sex Trafficking a Minor

PROVIDENCE – A supervisor at a group home contracted by DCYF who repeatedly sex trafficked a missing 17-year-old girl was sentenced today to 10 years in federal prison, announced United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations Peter C. Fitzhugh, and Cranston Police Chief Colonel Michael J. Winquist.

According to court documents and information presented to the Court, in March and April 2017, Reysean Williams, 28, with the assistance of another individual, Leonardo Gomes, 20, of Pawtucket, sex trafficked the 17-year-old in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and on Long Island, New York, by posting advertisements and pictures of the teenager on Backpage.com. The ads were discovered by agents from Homeland Security Investigations and Cranston Police Department detectives.

Williams first encountered Gomes when Williams was Gomes’ supervisor in a Pawtucket residential group home contracted to provide services in DCYF care. After Gomes was released from DCYF custody, Williams recruited Gomes to participate in the sex trafficking operation. Williams often used a group home van to meet with Gomes and collect the proceeds from the sex trafficking of the 17-year-old.

To determine where the victim was being trafficked, agents responded to a telephone number listed in the ads on Backpage.com to arrange a commercial sexual encounter with the 17-year-old at an apartment established by Cranston Police. The victim and a female companion were taken into custody when they arrived at the apartment. Gomes was found sitting in a vehicle across from the apartment and was arrested. Williams was located and arrested about a week later.

The investigation determined that in early March 2017, the victim met Williams and agreed to do “plays” for him as a way of earning cash. The victim told investigators that from mid-March to mid-April she usually did around 6 plays per day, but sometimes as many as 10 per day. The victim told investigators that often times Gomes would drive her to various locations to perform sex acts in exchange for money in the Providence metropolitan area and in Massachusetts in a vehicle supplied by Williams. The victim was also driven by Gomes and Williams to locations as far away as the North Shore of Boston and on Long Island to perform sex acts in exchange for payment. Hotel rooms were paid for in cash by Williams. All of the money paid to the 17-year-old was turned over to Gomes and Williams, none of which was shared with the victim.

Reysean Williams pleaded guilty on November 30, 2018, to sex trafficking a child. He was sentenced today to 10 years in federal prison to be followed by 5 years supervised release.

Leandro Gomes pleaded guilty on November 30, 2018, to travelling in interstate commerce with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. He was sentenced on March 15, 2019, to 36 months imprisonment to be followed by 10 years supervised release.

The cases were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Terrence P. Donnelly and John P. McAdams.

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Jim Martin (401) 709-5357
Press Release Number: 
19-57
Updated May 9, 2019