For more than four years, an Elizabeth man lured out-of-state escorts to New Jersey with promises of tens of thousands of dollars for sex – then slapped, choked, raped and threatened them, authorities charged.
An indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Newark on Friday added two more victims, bringing the total to four charged to Jose Torres, 42.
Torres met the women through websites for online escorts and on Backpage.com beginning in May 2015, an FBI complaint on file in U.S. District Court in Newark says.
Promising big money, he “persuaded, induced and enticed” the commercial sex workers – from New York, Canada and elsewhere -- to come to New Jersey, the complaint says.
Torres picked up most of the women at Newark Airport, then drove them either to his home or to a motel, one of which is in East Brunswick, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.
One woman was promised $20,000 to $30,000 a month to fly to the United States from Canada at least twice a month to be Torres’s private escort, the FBI complaint says. She, like the others, never got paid.
Torres picked up the woman from Canada at the airport in October and took her to a hotel in East Brunswick according to the FBI complaint.
When she asked for payment, it says, Torres told the victim that he was a police officer, then “forced her to engage in rough sexual intercourse, which included slapping her in the face, choking her and calling her derogatory names.”
Torres convinced another woman to take a cab from New York City before he picked her up, drove her to his house and pretended to transfer money to her on his laptop, the FBI alleges.
After they’d had sex, the woman “became uncomfortable due to Torres's aggressive behavior and asked to leave,” the complaint says.
He refused, then slapped, choked and raped the woman, who complied out of fear for her life, it says.
The next morning, she took a cab back to the city.
“During the investigation, law enforcement learned that Torres has victimized other commercial sex workers in a similar fashion,” the complaint says. “Law enforcement recently intercepted a victim in a different district.”
The superseding indictment handed up by the grand jury in U.S. District Court in Newark on Friday charges Torres with four counts of coercion and enticement.
It says Torres lured two more victims – one from New York City, the other from Pennsylvania – with “promises of large sums of payment.”
He threatened the New York City woman, “telling her it was in her best interest to remain in the hotel room,” and then “then forced her to engage in unwanted sexual activity, including having sexual intercourse without a condom,” the complaint says.
Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI and U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and Peabody, Massachusetts police for the work that produced the indictment, secured by Assistant U.S. Attorney Emma Spiro of Carpenito’s Violent Crimes Unit in Newark.
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