Rochester Man Sentenced For Sex Trafficking Minors And Adults
CONTACT: Barbara Burns
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ROCHESTER, N.Y.—U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr., announced today that Stephen Jones, 30, of Rochester, NY, who was convicted by a federal jury of conspiring to recruit underage girls to commit commercial sex acts, and sex trafficking of minors and adults by force, fraud or coercion, was sentenced to 25 years in prison by U.S. District Judge David G. Larimer.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Melissa M. Marangola and Craig R. Gestring, who together handled the trial of the case, stated that between 2011 and June 2014, the defendant conspired with others, including Kasandra Weeks and Christian Nartey, to target and manipulate seven minor victims and two adult victims, many of whom were at-risk and vulnerable, to engage in prostitution activities. While some victims were located through social media accounts, Jones went to the Department of Social Services or women shelters and waited until girls appearing young in age came outside. Victims were promised quick money and drugs, and on other occasions, threatened with violence.
Jones and his co-conspirators posted daily advertisements using fake photos for the victims on backpage.com. One advertisement read: “ITS KRISTEN AND ASHLEY!! Ur 2 favorite young GODDESS up all day READY2play!! :-) CALL NOW!! Victims were taken from the Rochester area to Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany, Utica, and New Jersey in order to engage in prostitution activities and avoid detection by law enforcement. To keep control over the victims, Jones and the others kept the money victims earned from prostitution activities, as many as 10 clients a day, and limited the victims’ communications with family and friends.
“The decision by Mr. Jones and his co-conspirators, to target females who—because of their ages or circumstances in life—were exceptionally vulnerable, was despicable,” stated United States Attorney Kennedy. “Even more depraved and diabolical was the defendant’s decision to force these vulnerable victims to engage in sex acts so that they might provide him with a revenue stream. Today’s sentence ensures that at least for the next quarter century, girls and women in this community will be protected from this predator.”
Kasandra Weeks and Christian Nartey were also convicted.
The sentencing is the culmination of an investigation on the part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Child Exploitation Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Adam S. Cohen; Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, of under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly; and the Rochester Police Department, under the direction of Chief Michael Ciminelli.