FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
East New York Man Sentenced to Four to 12 Years in Prison
For Promoting Prostitution and Assault of Philadelphia Teen
Defendant Promoted Prostitution of Eight Others,
Most of whom Were Minors From Out of State
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that an East New York man who pleaded guilty to promoting prostitution has been sentenced to four to 12 years in prison for promoting the prostitution of a Philadelphia teen. He also promoted the prostitution of eight others, ranging in age from 15 to 21 years old.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant took advantage of vulnerable young women, luring them to New York City to work as prostitutes and used violence to get them to do his bidding. I am committed to holding accountable those who violate and prey on our young women.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Jonathan Harris, a.k.a., Jayo, 27, of East New York, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun to four to 12 years in prison and must register as a sex offender upon his release. He pleaded guilty on March 20, 2019 to one count of second-degree promoting prostitution, one count of third-degree promoting prostitution and one count of second-degree assault. A co-defendant, Tariq Washington, previously pleaded guilty to one count of sex trafficking and was sentenced to four-and-a-half to nine years in prison and must register as a sex offender upon his release.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between March 2015 and December 2016, the defendants prostituted at least nine young women, the majority of whom were ages 16 and 17, 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 then texted them and convinced them to come to New York to be prostituted, sending them bus tickets and then posting their photos on Backpage.com.
The defendants rented several rooms at various motels in Brooklyn and elsewhere and brought the women to the locations where men paid to have sex with them.
Furthermore, according to the investigation, the defendants gave the girls drugs and physically assaulted them if they refused to work as prostitutes.
The 18-year-old Philadelphia victim had come to Brooklyn with a 17-year-old friend after that girl was contacted by Washington and lured to Brooklyn. The younger girl left after a few days and returned to Philadelphia. The victim was then repeatedly assaulted by Harris and forced to prostitute, until she was able to get the strength to leave him and go 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.
The District Attorney thanked Special Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Crimes Against Children Squad in the New York and Philadelphia field offices for their assistance in the investigation.
Senior Intelligence Analyst Brooke Middleton of the District Attorney’s Crime Strategies Unit assisted in the investigation.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney David Weiss, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Human Trafficking Unit, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Chief of the Special Victims Bureau.