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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 30, 2016

Providence Resident Pleads Guilty to Sex Trafficking 16-Year Old

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Paris Peters, 24, of Providence, pleaded guilty in federal court in Providence today to sex trafficking a 16-year old female. Peters admitted to the court that beginning in August 2015, he and two co-defendants conspired to post photographs and advertisements on Backpage.com offering the juvenile female for prostitution, and arranging for and transporting the victim to various locations in Rhode Island and Massachusetts to engage in commercial sexual activity.

Appearing before U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith, Peters pleaded guilty as charged in a federal indictment returned on December 3, 2015, with conspiracy to sex traffic a child, sex trafficking a child, transportation of a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

Paris Peters’ guilty plea is announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha, Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin, Pawtucket Police Chief Paul King and Matthew J. Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for New England.

According to court records and information presented to the court, it is alleged that in mid-August 2015, a 16-year old female was introduced to Paris Peters and Marcus Jamal Gibbs, 28, of Providence, with the intent that the she work for them as a prostitute. Within days, the two men introduced her to a third individual, Michael Sabatino, 24, of Providence. It is alleged that from approximately August 20, 2015 to September 27, 2015, the three men recruited, enticed, transported, harbored and advertised the minor victim for purposes of prostitution.

Peters is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith on September 14, 2016. Gibbs and Sabatino are detained in federal custody awaiting trial on charges of conspiracy to sex trafficking a child, sex traffic a child, transportation of a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

According to information presented to the court, an investigation by Pawtucket Police detectives and HSI agents determined that on the night of August 20-21, 2016, Peters posted pictures of the juvenile victim in various stages of undress on Backpage.com, offering her for prostitution. The advertisement posted by Peters claimed the person in the photographs was 20-years old, knowing that she was only 16-years old.  

According to information presented to the court, over the next several weeks numerous individuals responded to the advertisement on Backpage.com posted by Peters. As a result, it is alleged that the victim was driven by the defendants to various hotels and private residences in Rhode Island and Massachusetts to engage in commercial sexual activity.

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.

The case is being co-prosecuted in federal court by Assistant U.S. Attorney Adi Goldstein and Rhode Island Assistant Attorney General Daniel Guglielmo.

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Contact:

Jim Martin (401) 709-5357

email: USARI.Media@usdoj.gov

on Twitter @USAO_RI

Topic(s): 
Human Trafficking
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
16-69
Updated June 30, 2016