Mass. Resident Indicted on Sex Trafficking Charges
PROVIDENCE – A federal grand jury in Providence has returned a four-count indictment charging Andy Joseph, a/k/a Andrew J. Joseph, 24, of Brockton, Mass., with allegedly trafficking a 15-year-old Rhode Island female across state lines for the purpose of criminal sexual activity.
The indictment, returned on Thursday and announced today by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha; Matthew J. Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations for New England; and Pawtucket Police Chief Paul King, charges Joseph with one count each of sex trafficking a child and transportation of minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and two counts of traveling in interstate commerce with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
According to court documents, it is alleged that on June 15, 2016, Joseph, who had been communicating with the 15-year-old via an Internet web site, met with the teenager in Rhode Island and drove her to a hotel in Seekonk, Mass. It is alleged that at the hotel Joseph photographed the teenager and posted photographs of her in advertisements on Backpage.com, offering the teenager for commercial sexual activity.
It is alleged that between June 15 and August 13, 2016, Joseph arranged for sexual encounters involving the 15-year-old. It is alleged that following each commercial sexual encounter, most or all of the money was turned over to Joseph, at his insistence.
An indictment is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Sex trafficking a child and transportation of minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity are punishable by statutory penalties of a minimum of 10 years and up to life imprisonment to be followed by up to lifetime supervised release; traveling in interstate commerce with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity is punishable by up to 30 years imprisonment to be followed by up to lifetime supervised release.
Joseph has been detained in federal custody since his arrest on December 1, 2016, by HSI agents and Pawtucket Police.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Terrence P. Donnelly and John P. McAdams. The matter was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and Pawtucket Police.
Jim Martin (401) 709-5357
on Twitter @USAO_RI