Leader of drug trafficking organization faces 27-30 years in prison following guilty plea to drug trafficking, sex trafficking, and money laundering
CINCINNATI – Steven E. Ritter, 54, of Sharonville, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 96 months in prison for sex trafficking a minor.
Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Todd A. Wickerham, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Field Office, Sharonville Police Chief Steve Vanover and other members of the FBI’s child exploitation task force announced the sentence handed down today by U.S. District Judge Timothy S. Black.
According to court documents, in April 2017, Ritter coordinated with two brothers to arrange for sexual acts with a 16-year-old female. Ritter paid $200 to William P. Washington, 38, of Cincinnati, for Washington to deliver narcotics and the minor victim to his hotel room.
There, Ritter engaged in sexual activity with the victim and they both used the narcotics. After doing so, Ritter called William Washington, Jr., 49, of Cincinnati, to come get the victim from the hotel.
Ritter pleaded guilty in February 2018 to one count of sex trafficking a minor.
As part of his plea, Ritter admitted that on numerous previous occasions, he arranged personally and with others to pay Washington for narcotics and prostitutes. Some of those instances involved both an adult female and the minor victim.
The two brothers were each arrested in June 2017 on federal charges of sex trafficking a minor.
According to their complaint, the minor victim was forced to engage in prostitution, was injected with heroin and forced to smoke crack cocaine. The victim told investigators she was often beaten and on one occasion had a gun held to her head while being forced to have sex with someone. Every time she was forced to engage in prostitution, Washington and Washington, Jr. arranged her transportation and had control over the transactions.
Both brothers have pleaded guilty. Washington, Jr. has since filed to a motion to withdraw his guilty plea, and the court has yet to rule on that motion.
U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the cooperative investigation by the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force and the Sharonville Police Department, as well as Assistant United States Attorney Kyle J. Healey, who is representing the United States in this case.