Rochester man pleads guilty in sex trafficking case
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Marques Williams, 28, of Rochester, N.Y., pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of a minor before U.S. District Judge David G. Larimer The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a fine of $250,000.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany H. Lee, who is handling the case, stated the FBI received information that the defendant advertised a fifteen-year-old female as a prostitute on the Internet classified advertising service, Backpage.com. The minor victim was interviewed by the FBI and said that between July 2011 and September 2011, she worked as a prostitute for Williams. During the plea proceeding, Williams admitted to paying and posting ads for the minor for prostitution activities on Backpage.com, knowing that the minor was under the age of 18 years.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys= Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The plea is the culmination of an investigation on the part of the FBI's Cyber Crimes Task Force, which includes the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, under the direction of Sheriff Patrick O'Flynn, the Rochester Police Department under the direction of Chief Michael Ciminelli, Special Agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of James C. Spero, Special Agent in Charge and Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.