New York man convicted in Boston for forced labor, sex trafficking 15-year old minor

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“BOSTON – A New York man was convicted yesterday by a federal jury in Boston of sex trafficking a minor and forcing her to work at a strip club for his financial benefit.

Sherriff Cooper, 37, was convicted of sex trafficking of a minor by force, fraud and coercion; transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity; and forced labor. U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton scheduled sentencing for June 5, 2024. Cooper was indicted by a federal grand jury in June 2021.

“Justice was served here. Mr. Cooper abused his position of trust to violently exploit an innocent 15-year-old girl for his own financial benefit. The repeated violence and trauma he inflicted on the victim would be unimaginable if it wasn’t all so shockingly real. No verdict can erase the pain he caused, but we hope the young victim in this case and entire survivor community know that this Office will do everything in its power to hold dangerous predators accountable, and that this particular defendant will be off the streets for many years,” said Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy. “This conviction does not happen without a tremendous, sustained effort by federal, state and local law enforcement partners who dedicate their professional lives to protect our children and ensure that exploitative traffickers like Mr. Cooper are held accountable.”

“The criminal acts that Sherriff Cooper were convicted of are stomach-churning,” said Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division. “Using physical threats to control another human being, to force them into sexual servitude, is unconscionable. It was imperative that FBI Boston’s Child Exploitation – Human Trafficking Task Force take him off the street. Unequivocally, our community is safer with Mr. Cooper behind bars, locked away where he can’t victimize anyone else’s child.”

In 2017, Cooper was working as a security guard at a residential program for pregnant teens when he met the victim, who was then 15 years old. He began a sexual relationship with her and, in early 2018, Cooper began sex trafficking the victim around Boston, posting advertisements for her on commercial sex websites and taking all the proceeds. He used violence, threats of violence and coercion to make the victim engage in commercial sex for his financial benefit.

Cooper transported the victim across state lines to sex traffic her in New York. While in New York, Cooper obtained a fake ID for the minor victim and forced her to strip at a club – again, keeping all the proceeds for himself. Cooper continued to use threats of violence, violence and coercion to keep the victim working at the club for his financial benefit.

If you or someone you know may be impacted or experiencing commercial sex trafficking, please contact USAMA.VictimAssistance@usdoj.gov.

The charge of sex trafficking of a minor by force, fraud and coercion provides for a sentence of a least 15 years and up to life in prison, up to five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of transportation of a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and up to life in prison, up to five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of forced labor provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

Acting U.S. Attorney Levy and SAC Cohen made the announcement. Special assistance was provided by the FBI New York Field Division and the Malden Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Torey B. Cummings, Stephen W. Hassink and Lauren A. Graber of the Criminal Division are prosecuting the case.”-Massachusetts Department of Justice.

About Michael Silvia

Served 20 years in the United States Air Force. Owner of New Bedford Guide.

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