Two Charged In Alleged Sex Trafficking Conspiracy
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Two Providence, R.I., men have been charged by way of federal criminal complaints with allegedly trafficking and transporting a 14-year old female for sex in Rhode Island and Massachuetts, announced United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha, Bruce M. Foucart, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security (HSI) Investigations for New England, Warwick Police Chief Colonel Stephen M. McCartney and Seekonk, Mass., Police Chief Craig A. Mace.
It is alleged in court documents that Franklin Liberto, 20, and Mackenzy Scott, a/k/a Bangazz, a/k/a Mackenzy Chandler Scott, a/k/a Banks, 19, participated in a conspiracy to traffic and to transport a 14 -year-old Rhode Island girl with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity in Rhode Island and Massachusetts in December 2014, and in January and February 2015.
Liberto and Scott are charged with one count each of sex trafficking of a child, conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a child, transportation of a minor with the intent to engage in sexual activity and conspiracy to transport a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
According to court documents, it is alleged that the victim was trafficked for sex at motels in Warwick, R.I., and Seekonk, Mass., and was driven to several locations in Rhode Island for the purpose of being trafficked for sexual activity. It is alleged that advertisements depicting the teenage girl and offering her for sexual activity were placed on the website Backpage.com.
The victim, who had been reported missing by her family, was located by a family member at a Warwick motel on December 31, 2014. The victim was rescued by responding officers and detectives from the Warwick Police Department.
On February 6, 2015, agents from Homeland Security Investigations and Warwick Police Department detectives who were jointly investigating this matter became aware that the victim was missing from her Rhode Island residence. Among the steps taken by HSI agents and Warwick detectives to attempt to locate the young girl was to provide a photograph of the missing teenager to the Seekonk, Mass., Police Department, who began checking local hotels and motel for the missing girl. The missing girl was located at a Seekonk motel and was removed by Seekonk police.
Franklin Liberto, who had been detained in custody in Massachusetts since his arrest in February, made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Providence before Magistrate Judge Lincoln D. Almond on April 2, 2015, and was ordered detained. Liberto was ordered released by the court on April 7, 2015, on home confinement with GPS monitoring.
Mackenzy Scott, who had been detained in custody in Massachusetts since his arrest in February, made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Providence today before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Lincoln D. Almond and was ordered detained in federal custody.
A federal criminal complaint 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 prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Pamela E. Chin.
To assist the media and the public, a glossary of federal judicial terms and procedures is available at http://www.justice.gov/usao/justice101/