At least nine girls at a Westchester County residential treatment facility were trafficked or recruited to engage in prostitution, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman announced.
Charges have been brought against 19 men who allegedly trafficked minors and young women who were in the New York State child welfare system. Eighteen of the suspects have been arrested, one remains at large.
As alleged, the men “trafficked or recruited to engage in prostitution at least 15 minor girls in the child welfare system, including at least nine minors who resided at a particular non-incarceratory residential treatment facility located in Westchester.” That facility provided housing for at-risk and troubled children and adolescents on behalf of departments of social welfare for certain counties in New York State.
The suspects were identified as part of an ongoing criminal investigation, some of whom were as young as 13 years old. The charges came as part of eight separate indictments. The alleged incidents took place between 2010 and 2018.
The 18 men have been charged with crimes that include sex trafficking; conspiracy to commit sex trafficking; and sex trafficking of a minor. The 19 charged are:
- Sean Merchant, 31;
- Martique McGriff, 30;
- Jermaine Myrie, 34;
- Rueben Sands, 59;
- Steven Lesane, 31;
- Hubert Dupigny, 34;
- Hensley Dupigny, 29;
- Dariel Braham, 45;
- Christopher Bullock, 36;
- Adrienne Roberts, 59;
- Luidji Benjamin, 22;
- Lawrence Walsh, 25;
- Jabari Kennedy, 26;
- Cimmie Wright, 24;
- Nazeer Vickers, 36;
- Saeed Malik Thomas Norris, 24;
- Ruben Morciglio, 31;
- Carlton Vanier, 26, and;
- Lloyd Kidd, 28.
“Children in the child welfare system are among the most vulnerable in our society. As alleged in today’s charges, the defendants and their conspirators callously recruited girls as young as 13 from a residential treatment facility for at-risk youth, then sexually trafficked and prostituted them for financial profit," Berman said. "Together with our partners in the FBI, we will work tirelessly to ensure that anyone who sexually traffics a minor is subject to the full force of the law.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. added, “Sex traffickers routinely prey on young people and those in our communities who are the most defenseless. As alleged, the defendants targeted vulnerable women and girls, including residents of a facility for at-risk children and adolescents, knowing that the victims would be more susceptible to their claims.
"The FBI Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Task Force and our law enforcement partners will aggressively pursue and hold accountable anyone who exploits others for their own profit.”
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