Houston Man Sentenced to 35 Years for Sex Trafficking
HOUSTON – A 29-year-old Houston man has been ordered to federal prison following his conviction on two counts of sex trafficking by the use of force, fraud and coercion, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez. Roger Maldonado pleaded guilty Sept. 13, 2016.
Today, U.S. District Judge Nancy F. Atlas took into consideration Maldonado’s undue influence over the two minor victims as well as his criminal history of assaults and firearm possession which showed a pattern of violent behavior and handed him a total sentence of 420 months in federal prison. Additional information was also presented today, including a victim statement and letter. In handing down the sentence, Judge Atlas stated that Maldonado repeatedly engaged in conduct which hurt others. Maldonado was further ordered to serve 10 years of supervised release following completion of his prison term, during which time he will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to children. He will also be ordered to register as a sex offender.
Maldonado came to the attention of law enforcement after law enforcement found a minor female at a hospital whom Maldonado had physically assaulted in August 2015. The victim had suffered a forehead laceration, upper and lower eyelid contusions, neck abrasions, a finger contusion and abdominal trauma. At that time, the female advised law enforcement that Maldonado was her boyfriend and that he had assaulted her.
In September 2015, law enforcement found a second minor female whom Maldonado had also assaulted. The investigation revealed that Maldonado had been trafficking these two victims on Backpage.com as well as at Pink Spa - a sexually-oriented business located in Houston known by law enforcement for prostitution activities.
Through their investigation, law enforcement discovered Maldonado had been taking photographs of these victims and posting advertisements in order to solicit business for these victims. Maldonado would set up the dates for the victims and transport the women in order for them to engage in commercial sex acts. The victims would then turn a portion of the money over to Maldonado. Ultimately, he used force, threats of force, fraud and coercion to have these victims perform commercial sex acts from which he benefited financially.
He will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The FBI and Houston Police Department conducted the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly Ann Leo and Sherri Zack are prosecuting the case which was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."