Palm Beach County Residents Arrested for Sex Trafficking of Minors
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 22, 2013|
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announced that defendants Dontavious M. Blake, 32, and Tara Jo Moore, 26, both of Palm Beach County, were charged in a federal criminal complaint with sex trafficking of minors. Pretrial detention hearings for Blake and Moore are scheduled for Tuesday, February 26, 2013.
More specifically, the complaint charges Blake and Moore with sex trafficking of children and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of children, and inducing a minor to engage in commercial sex act, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1591, 1594 and 2422, respectively. If convicted, Blake and Moore face a maximum possible statutory sentence of up to life in prison.
This case stemmed from an investigation into the production of child pornography. According to the allegations in the complaint affidavit, a victim revealed that she had engaged in prostitution in the summer of 2011, at the age of 15. The victim stated that she had worked in hotels in the Palm Beach County area and identified Blake and Moore as her pimp and his girlfriend. Blake would post online escort advertisements with photographs of the victim on Backpage.com listing a phone number belonging to him. Moore would allegedly answer the calls from clients and negotiate a price for prostitution services and schedule a “date.” Once the price had been agreed upon, Blake would contact the minor and drive her to location for the “date.” At the conclusion of the date, the victim would pay a portion of the proceeds to Blake, including payment for a portion of the cost of the hotel room.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lothrop Morris.
A complaint is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.