FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Two East New York Men Indicted For Sex Trafficking of Philadelphia Teen
Defendants Also Charged with Promoting Prostitution of Eight Others,
Most of whom Were Minors From Out of State
Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that two East New York men have been variously charged in a 39-count indictment with sex trafficking, promoting prostitution, rape, and other charges for allegedly sex trafficking an 18-year-old girl and promoting the prostitution of eight others, ranging in age from 15 to 21 years old.
Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “These defendants allegedly preyed on vulnerable young women, luring them to New York City to work as prostitutes – and in several cases drugging and using physical violence against those who refused. I intend to hold them fully accountable for these despicable acts.”
The District Attorney identified the defendants as Jonathan Harris, a.k.a., Jayo, 25, of East New York, Brooklyn, and Tariq Washington, a.k.a., Ricky, 23, also of East New York. Washington was arraigned yesterday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Laporte and ordered held on $250,000 bail. Harris was arraigned on Friday, July 21, 2017 before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Michael Brennan and ordered held on $250,000 bail. The indictment variously charges them with sex trafficking, second-, third- and fourth-degree promoting prostitution, first-degree rape, second-degree assault, endangering the welfare of a child and related charges. They each face up to 25 years in prison, and would have to register as sex offenders, if convicted of the top count.
The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between March 2015 and December 2016, the defendants prostituted nine young women, the majority of whom were ages 15 and 16, in Brooklyn, after luring most of them to the city from out of state, including Philadelphia, Baltimore and Cleveland. The defendants located the women on Backpage.com and it is alleged that they then texted them and invited them to come to New York to be prostituted, sending them bus tickets and then posting their photos on Backpage.com.
It is alleged that the defendants rented several rooms at various motels in Brooklyn and elsewhere, and drove the women to the locations where men paid to have sex with them.
Furthermore, according to the investigation, it is alleged that the defendants gave the girls drugs and physically assaulted them if they refused to work as prostitutes.
The 18-year-old sex trafficking victim had come to Brooklyn with a 17-year-old friend after that girl was allegedly contacted by Washington and lured to Brooklyn. The younger girl left after a few days and returned to Philadelphia. The 18-year-old, who had allegedly been beaten and raped by Harris, escaped and went to the police for help two months later.
The case was investigated by New York City Police Department Detective David Mills and Detective James Rufle of the Human Trafficking Team, Vice Enforcement Division, under the supervision of Sergeant Faoud Zahirudin, Lieutenant Christopher Sharpe and Captain Thomas Milano, and the overall supervision of Inspector James Klein.
KCDA Digital Forensic Analyst Thomas Woodburn assisted in the investigation.
The Acting District Attorney thanked Special Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore field offices for their assistance in the investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney David Weiss, of the District Attorney’s Human Trafficking Unit, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Laura Edidin, Unit Chief, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Chief of the Special Victims Bureau.
An indictment is merely an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.