The investigation continues into a Central New York sex trafficking ring. This alleged Utica-based trafficking organization was led by a brother and sister duo who used a website called Backpage.com to advertise and sell a minor child online.
After a 9-month investigation, the New York State police announced the arrests of 9 people involved in the ring including the traffickers, facilitators, and those buying sex acts with the victim; a 16-year old runaway.
“Our investigation revealed in February of this year that a 16-year-old girl that ran away from home was in the city of Utica,” says Major Rodney Campbell, New York State police.
“During the proceedings in family court, she divulged she was being involved in this sex trafficking and then it came to light at the Child Advoacy Center,” says Trooper Jack Keller, New York State police.
Officials say the 16-year-old run-away was picked up by a taxi driver, Jakeem Penn Sr., in Utica. Penn Sr. contacted Alexandria Davall, one of the alleged sex traffickers. He then bought the victim clothing and personal items and brought her to Davall.
“Ms. Davall and the Tildens coerced this girl in engaging in prostitution acts; Under the premise that she owed them money for shelter and clothing and food that was provided to her,” says Major Campbell.
Police say drugs were involved.
“She’s introduced to narcotics; heroin and cocaine. Because of this addiction, they would use that, as a way of making her do favors, in getting her involved in the prostitution end of it,” says Trooper Keller.
Lynnette Tilden, Edward Tilden, and Alexandria Davall have been charged with sex trafficking; a felony that carries 25 years in prison if convicted.
The brother and sister duo used Backpage.com to advertise and sell the young girl and its just as easy as the click of a button.
“They would use that as a way to get the advertising out to get to the johns and the johns would meet with them at a hotel,” says Trooper Keller.
“Tilden and Davall would set up dates, provide transportation, collect the money, and they did this all along the east coast for themselves and others,” says Major Campbell.
The following 9 individuals were arrested in the sex ring:
– Lynnette M. Tilden, 25, of Utica: sex trafficking
– Edward E. Tilden, 30, of Orwell: sex trafficking
– Alexandria Davall, 23, of Utica: sex trafficking
– Michael J. Olsen, 28, of Verona: third-degree criminal sex act
– David J. Jamrosz, 56, of New York Mills: third-degree criminal sex act
– Michael J. Curcio, 22, of Whitesboro: third-degree rape
– Rosheen A. Brooks, 32, of Utica: third-degree rape
– Jakeem E. Penn Sr, 35, of Utica: endangering the welfare of a child
– Curtis L. O’dell, 61, of Utica: endangering the welfare of a child
State police say more individuals may have been trafficked by these individuals. Anyone with information about this investigation or the people involved are asked to call the New York State Police at 315-366-6000