Palm Beach County Residents Sentenced for Sex Trafficking of Minors
Two Palm Beach County residents received 27 and 15 year prison sentences following their jury trial convictions for sex trafficking of minors.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement.
Dontavious M. Blake, 33, and Tara Jo Moore, 27, both of Palm Beach County, were sentenced to 324 months and 180 months’ imprisonment, respectively, by United States District Judge Kenneth A. Marra following their conviction on charges of sex trafficking of children, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1591 and 594.
According to court records and trial testimony, this case stemmed from an investigation into the production of child pornography. During the investigation, a juvenile victim revealed that she had engaged in prostitution, at the age of 15, beginning in August of 2011 and continuing until December 2011. She had approximately 10 – 15 regular clients and worked in hotels in the Palm Beach County area. After further investigation, a second juvenile victim was identified and revealed that she had also engaged in prostitution, at the age of 16, beginning in July 2011 and continuing through October 2012. They worked for a pimp who they identified as Blake and his girlfriend Moore. Blake would post online escort advertisements with photographs of the minors on Backpage.com, which postings included a telephone number that belonged to him. Moore would answer the calls from the clients and negotiate a price for prostitution services and schedule a “date.” Once the negotiated price had been agreed upon, Blake would contact the minors and drive them to the hotel or location for the “date.” At the conclusion of the date, the minor would pay a portion of the proceeds to Blake including payment for a portion of the hotel room.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lothrop Morris.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov