Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation of Minors
The Office regularly bring prosecutions against individuals alleged to have engaged in human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of minors. This critical work is handled within several Units within the Office’s Criminal Division and also by prosecutors in the Office’s White Plains Division. Recent work in this area includes the following:
- Lawrence Ray Charged with Extortion, Sex Trafficking, and Other Offenses: In January 2023, Lawrence Ray, a/k/a “Lawrence Grecco,” was sentenced to 60 years in prison following his conviction at trial for extortion, sex trafficking, forced labor, and money laundering offenses. Ray used physical and psychological threats and coercion to indoctrinate and exploit a group of college students in Westchester County, as well as other victims. Ray extorted approximately $1 million from at least five victims; forced certain victims to perform unpaid labor on a family member’s North Carolina property; and caused, through force, fraud, and coercion, at least one victim to engage in commercial sex acts. His alleged tactics included sleep deprivation, psychological and sexual humiliation, verbal abuse, threats of physical violence, physical violence, threats of criminal legal action, alienating the victims from their families, and exploiting the victims’ mental health vulnerabilities. Victims made payments to Ray by draining their parents’ savings, opening credit lines, soliciting contributions from acquaintances, selling real estate ownership, and at Ray’s direction, performing unpaid labor for Ray and earning money through prostitution. His codefendant Isabella Pollack pled guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and was sentenced to 54 months in prison.
- Ghislaine Maxwell Convicted of Conspiring with Jeffrey Epstein to Sexually Abuse Minors and Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison: In June 2022, Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in prison for her role in conspiring to abuse minor girls with Jeffrey Epstein between 1994 and 2004. Over the course of a decade, Maxwell and Epstein worked together to identify girls, groom them, and then entice them to travel and transport them to Epstein’s properties in New York, Florida, New Mexico, and elsewhere. The girls — some of whom were as young as 14 years old — were then sexually abused, often under the guise of a “massage.” Maxwell was convicted at trial in December 2021.
- Former Obstetrician/Gynecologist Robert Hadden Convicted of Sexually Abusing Numerous Patients and Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison: In July 2023, Robert Hadden was sentenced to 20 years in prison following his conviction by a jury after a trial on charges for inducing victims to travel interstate to his medical offices in Manhattan so that he could sexually abuse them. Hadden, who practiced medicine between in or about 1987 to 2012, sexually abused dozens of patients over the course of more than two decades under the guise of purported medical examinations. To carry out the abuse, Hadden exploited the power differential inherent in the doctor-patient relationship, built rapport with victims, asked victims invasive and unprompted questions about their sexual activity, and conducted fake breast and vaginal exams.
- Former Bronx Public Charter School Teacher Pleads Guilty In Connection With Sexual Abuse Of Five Former Students: In September 2023, Jesus Concepcion, a former teacher at a public charter school in the Bronx, pled guilty to a 10-count indictment charging him in connection with the sexual abuse of five minor victims who were also his students. From 2000 until 2007, Concepcion abused his position as a teacher to induce and attempt to induce five of his students to engage in sexual acts by leading them to believe that they were in a romantic relationship with him. Concepcion engaged in sexual acts with four of the victims at multiple locations, including the school, a motel in New Jersey, and his home in New Jersey. The minor victims were as young as 12 years old at the time of the abuse. Concepcion is scheduled to be sentenced in December 2023.
- Urologist Darius Paduch Charged with Sexual Abuse of Patients, Including Minors: In April 2023, the Office charged urologist Darius Paduch with sexually abusing male patients, including minors, while Paduch was employed at a major New York City hospital. As alleged, beginning in at least 2015, Paduch sexually abused patients in his care, under the guise of providing medical treatment. Paduch required victims to masturbate in his presence, often while viewing pornography alongside them. He also insisted on masturbating victims himself, at times grabbing their genitals without warning. Paduch further engaged in sexually explicit communications with certain victims, including sending messages that referenced his own genitalia and masturbation habits. To perpetrate the abuse, Paduch directed victims to schedule follow-up appointments, to visit his office after regular business hours, and to see him outside the hospital setting. This case is currently awaiting trial.
- Former Private School Teacher and Private Tutor Sentenced to 25 Years In Prison for Enticement of a Child and Possession of Child Pornography: In April 2023, John Mueser, a private school teacher and private tutor, was sentenced to 25 years in prison following his conviction by a jury for inducing a 7-year-old minor whom he was tutoring to engage in sexually explicit conduct. Mueser’s phone was found to contain hundreds of images, many of which were sexually explicit, of his 7-year-old victim as well as numerous sexually explicit images and videos of other prepubescent children. The Office’s investigation also revealed that, decades earlier, Mueser sexually abused two other children and his abuse of those children continued for years.