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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 11, 2020

Grand Jury Indicts Buffalo Man For Brutally Beating, Raping, And Sex Trafficking Four Victims

CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y.--U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr., announced today that a federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Michael McDonald, a/k/a George Jackson, a/k/a Rabbit, 41, of Buffalo, NY, with four counts of sex trafficking. The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison and a maximum of life. 

Assistant U.S. Meghan A. Tokash, who is handling that case, stated that according to the indictment and a previously filed complaint, in October 2017, the FBI began investigating the defendant for operating an illegal sex buying scheme by employing fraud, force and/or coercion. According to information in the complaint:

• McDonald recruited Victim 1 to “dance” and “strip” in Florida using Facebook, telling her she would not have to engage in prostitution. However, once Victim 1 traveled from Buffalo to Florida, the defendant raped her and forced her to in prostitution in both Florida and Buffalo. Victim continued to engage in sex acts for McDonald out of fear. The defendant also assaulted Victim 1 on numerous occasions.
• In January 2018, the Plantation, Florida Police Department responded to a residence after receiving a 911 call that an individual was being held against her will. Victim 2 was rescued from the house. Victim 2 told investigators that she met the defendant and flew from New York to Florida. Once in Florida, she said McDonald sexually assaulted her and forced her to perform sexual acts for money against her will. Victim 2 attempted to leave, but the defendant stopped her and threatened to beat her if she attempted to leave again.
• In January 2017, Victim 3 was recruited on Snapchat through an individual she knew in her teenage years. Initially, McDonald lied to Victim 3 stating he could help her fulfill her dreams of becoming a singer and obtain custody of her children. The defendant event stated that he knew Beyonce. Shortly after meeting McDonald, Victim 3 told investigators the defendant allowed another man to rape her and made her feel that all she could do was work as a prostitute for him. McDonald controlled every aspect of her and life and isolated Victim 3 from her friends and family. The defendant also routinely beat, choked, and raped Victim 3.

The defendant is accused of trafficking a total of four victims.

The indictment is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Stephen Belongia, and the Cheektowaga Police Department, under the direction of Chief Michael Sliwinski.

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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Topic(s): 
Human Trafficking
Updated September 11, 2020