FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Defendant Pleads Guilty to Promoting Prostitution
Of Three Teenage Girls in East New York
Victims Were Ages 13, 15 and 17
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that an East New York man has pleaded guilty to promoting three underage girls as prostitutes and will face up to 10 years in state prison.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant exploited and abused vulnerable young girls who were made to sell their bodies for his profit. With today’s guilty plea he is being held responsible for his despicable and unconscionable actions.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Whetsel Wade, 46, of East New York, Brooklyn. He pleaded guilty to second-degree promoting prostitution in exchange for a promised indeterminate sentence of five to 10 years in prison from Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun. He will be required to register as a sex offender upon release from prison. Sentencing was set for June 20, 2018. A co-defendant, Keisia Atkins, 30, previously pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between August 2016 and November 2016, Wade promoted the 13, 15 and 17-year-old girls as prostitutes, posting photos of them on Backpage.com, alongside advertisements for escorts. The defendant would then drive the minors to hotels or private apartments to meet men who paid to have sex with them. The investigation also revealed that in addition to the minor victims, Wade promoted the prostitution of approximately five other women.
Atkins helped Wade promote the 13-year-old victim for several days after she turned 14.
On November 14, 2016, police responded to an incident at Wade’s house and found the 17-year-old victim inside the defendant’s basement. The defendant had fled the scene and was arrested two days later.
The case was investigated by New York City Police Department Detective David Mills from the Vice Major Case Team, under the supervision of Captain Thomas Milano and the overall supervision of Inspector James Klein.
The case was 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, Chief of the Human Trafficking Unit, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Chief of the Special Victims Bureau.