A federal grand jury has indicted two New Castle men for sex trafficking after the men allegedly abducted a 15-year-old girl in Maryland and took her to a Newark motel to engage in prostitution.
According to the indictment, Steven Maurice Williams, 38, and Harry Eugene Rivers Jr., 28, were “pimps, engaged in the business of recruiting, enticing, harboring, transporting, providing, obtaining, advertising, and maintaining by any means girls and women to engage in commercial sex acts” and carried out their sex trafficking by “force, fraud, and coercion.”
Federal prosecutors have also filed charges against a third defendant, Jessica Lynn Schaefer, 23, of Upland, Pa.
According to court records, Schaefer was working as a prostitute, and Williams and Rivers acted as her pimp, promoting her services through internet ads. Schaefer met the teen at a hotel in Delaware and introduced her to Williams and Rivers, who then drove the girl to the Knights Inn in Elkton, Md., near the Interstate 95 interchange off Elkton Road.
On July 14, Schaefer allegedly brandished a Taser and forced the teen to leave the Knights Inn and get into a car. Schaefer, Williams and Rivers then drove her to the Red Roof Inn on South College Avenue in Newark “for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts,” according to court records.
Witnesses reported the abduction, and Elkton Police issued a public plea for help locating the teen, whom detectives described as a “critically missing individual.”
Tips led Elkton Police to the Red Roof Inn, where they found the teen uninjured and arrested her three alleged captors with the assistance of Delaware State Police troopers and Newark Police Department officers, police reported.
All three defendants initially faced state charges in Maryland, but charges against Williams were dropped in deference to the federal case. If convicted in the federal case, Williams and Rivers could be sentenced up to life in prison.
Meanwhile, Schaefer received a five-year sentence — with all suspended but the 153 days that she had served in jail following her arrest — after pleading guilty to second-degree assault in Cecil County Circuit Court.
Federal prosecutors also charged her with kidnapping and conspiracy. According to court filings, she is involved in “pre-indictment discussions” with prosecutors.