The uncle of a 13-year-old Brooklyn girl saved the teenager and her friend from prostitution by posing as a customer after the two were convinced by a stranger to have sex for money, prosecutors say.
The girls, who have not been identified, met 25-year-old suspect Marcus (Melo) Sumpter while returning from a party on Aug. 30, 2014. Prosecutors say the two joined him at his Bedford-Stuyvesant apartment and had sex. The next day, with the help of a woman identified as Jasmine Goldstein, the two convinced the young girls to sell sex for money. Goldstein then reportedly took graphic photos of the teens and attempted to post them to Craigslist.com.
After some time, one of the girl’s uncles texted her out of concern and her response was a red flag, according to the NY Daily News.
“Want a date?” the text said. “Yes,” the shrewd relative replied. He came to the apartment, paid and took the girl home, prosecutors said.
The second girl left in the apartment was taken to another residence at the same brownstone, where she was forced to hide in the bathroom. She was eventually rescued by family members in September.
The summer case is coming to light now that Sumpter, along with Joann Bailey, 55, and Jerry Brown, 57 (who controlled the second apartment), were charged.
“These defendants are accused of disgraceful actions involving young girls who should be protected, not exploited,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson. “Luckily, the young girls who were abducted are now safe and their abusers will now face justice.”
“The sexual exploitation of children affects not only the victims and their family, but society as a whole,” said NYPD Commissioner William Bratton, whose vice detectives took part in the lengthy investigation.
Three of the suspects were arrested last week. Police have yet to apprehend Goldstein. Bailey and Brown are being held on bonds of $50,000 and $25,000, the Daily News reports. Sumpter faces 25 years in prison for his role in the incident.
Investigators do not believe the girls were held by force.