Oneida (WSYR-TV) – State Police released new information Friday in a case that led to the arrest of nine people
accused of playing roles in a sex-trafficking ring that involved a teenage girl.
Police say the victim - a 16-year-old runaway - is now addicted to drugs after forcibly being given cocaine and heroin.
State Police say their interviews with the suspects have led them to belive there are other people involved in the ring and that other arrests are forthcoming.
Police say one of the suspects, a taxi driver named Jakeem Penn, picked up a 15-year-old runaway in February, telling her that he could help.
He introduced the girl to Alexandria Davall for “the purposes of coercing her into prostitution,” according to police.
"So it was basically coercion. You have a runaway that has no place to live no place to go. They provided her with a place to stay and then coerced her into prostitution and convinced her to do it based on the fact that, 'Look, you owe us money now for what we've been doing for you. And you have to do this'," said State Police Major Rodney Campbell.
Davall brought the teenager to Edward and Lynette Tilden who offered her a place to stay, clothing, and food, according to police.
After a short period of time, police say the brother and sister began telling the teen that she owed them.
Police say that Davall and Lynette Tilden advertised their own “services” and those of the teenage girl on the website Backpage.com.
Police say they were advertising to potential patrons in the Utica area, as well as several other states along the East Coast.
Two of the other individuals arrested in the case, Rosheen Brooks and Michael Curcio, were charged with rape. According to police, the two men provided the Tildens and Davall with drugs, which were forcibly given to the girl. In some cases, sex acts were used as payment for the drugs.
On Wednesday, police announced the identities of nine people already charged in the case:
- Lynnette M. Tilden, age 25, of Utica - Sex Trafficking
- Edward E. Tilden, age 30, of Orwell - Sex Trafficking
- Alexandria Davall, age 23, of Utica - Sex Trafficking
- Michael J Olsen, age 28, of Verona - Criminal Sex Act
- David J Jamrosz, age 56, of New York Mills - Criminal Sex Act
- Michael J. Curcio, age 22, of Whitesboro - Rape
- Rosheen A. Brooks, age 32, of Utica - Rape
- Jakeem E Penn Sr., age 35, of Utica - Endangering the welfare of a child
- Curtis L O'dell, age 61, of Utica - Endangering the welfare of a child
Nearly three million kids run away in the U.S. every year and within days of hitting the streets, statistics show a third of them will be lured into the underground world of prostitution and pornography.
Sex trafficking is a multi-billion dollar industry and is one of the fastest growing crimes in the U.S. The average age of the victims is 12.
“These things happen in our community, it's a difficult conversation and it's not something we want to think about happening in our community,” said Julie Cecile with the McMahon Ryan Child Advocacy Center.
A newly formed task force in Central New York aims to tackle sex trafficking head on. And now, there are new, stronger state laws to help police arrest predators and give more support to victims.
“Many different agencies are coming together and saying okay, as a community how do we come together, collaborate and also identify protocols and procedures when we do identify these situations,” explained Cecile.