A Springfield woman has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from her work recruiting vulnerable females into a life of forced sex work, violence, and drug addiction.
On Tuesday, March 9, Shannon Yelinek, 36, of Springfield, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Massachusetts, said.
Yelinek was accused of working with co-conspirator/pimp William Coleman who pleaded guilty to sex trafficking crimes in September 2020 and received a sentence of 186 months in prison. Coleman operated a prostitution business that used violence and drug addiction as means to control the women he sold for sex.
Yelinek’s responsibilities in the prostitution ring included:
- Posting sex-selling advertisements,
- Arranging meetups between people seeking to buy sex from exploited females and the women being abused by Coleman,
- Collecting money from Coleman’s victims and delivering it to the pimp,
- Delivering drugs, mostly heroin, to the drug-addicted women Coleman had under his control,
- And recruiting female inmates while Yelinek was in jail in 2017, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
The charge of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking provides for a sentence of up to life in prison. Yelinek is scheduled to be sentenced on June 4.
Law enforcement agencies that participated in Yelinek’s investigation, arrest, and prosecution are the Hampden County District Attorney, Homeland Security, Hampden County Sheriff’s Office, FBI, Springfield Police, Massachusetts State Police, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
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