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Press Release

Man Convicted Of Sex Trafficking A Child, Other Crimes

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Michigan

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Mark Totten today announced that a federal jury convicted Terrence Clay, age 39, of Kent County, on all charges: (1) sex trafficking of a child; (2) sexual exploitation of a child; and (3) distribution of child pornography. Clay is scheduled to be sentenced on September 17, 2024.

          “Treating his victim like nothing more than property, Terrence Clay repeatedly ordered a minor to sell herself for sex,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten. “Today’s guilty verdict on all counts secures a measure of justice for the victim and the entire community who is harmed by these heinous crimes. Working with our law enforcement partners, social service providers, and others we will continue our efforts to end the scourge of human trafficking.”

          Evidence introduced at trial showed that Clay met the minor victim at a park in the City of Grand Rapids in early October 2022. He had sex multiple times with the victim and ordered her to have sex with other men for money, at one point directing her to “make a sign” and “panhandle,” offering specific sex acts at set prices. After securing nude images of the minor victim, Clay advertised her online.

          Police found the minor victim in a library, and she was taken to a foster home in the Upper Peninsula, while law enforcement began its investigation. Meanwhile, Clay located the minor victim and picked her up at her foster home early on the morning of November 12, 2022, without the knowledge of the foster family. Shortly after crossing south of the Mackinac Bridge, law enforcement pulled over the vehicle and found the minor victim in the car with the defendant.

          “The conviction of Terrence Clay is a testament to the exceptional investigative work carried out by our WEBCHEX task force in partnership with law enforcement agencies to combat child trafficking,” said Cheyvoryea Gibson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan. “We are committed to doing everything in our power to protect our children from exploitation and will continue to work tirelessly towards this goal.”

          “Our Human Trafficking Task Force continues to make progress in prosecutions and building relationships with area victim service providers to further enhance Kent County’s response to sex and labor trafficking,” said Kent County Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young. “It is not lost on us the impact these horrible crimes have on victims and our overall community.”

          The case was investigated by the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, Kentwood Police Department, Forsythe Police Department, Cheboygan Sheriff’s Office, Tuscarora Township Police Department, the Michigan State Police and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Constance Turnbull.

          This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan; county prosecutor’s offices; HSI; Michigan State Police’s Internet Crimes Against Children task force; the West Michigan Based Child Exploitation Task Force (WEBCHEX); and federal, state, and local law enforcement are working closely together to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children. Anyone with information or concerns about possible child exploitation should contact local law enforcement. For more information about Project Safe Childhood in West Michigan, including resources for children and parents, please visit:


Updated May 1, 2024

Project Safe Childhood
Human Trafficking