Rhode Island Resident Indicted for Allegedly Sex Trafficking 14-Year-Old Girl
PROVIDENCE, RI—A federal grand jury in Providence today returned a three-count indictment charging Paul J. Monteiro, a/k/a “Peezy,” 29, of Providence, with allegedly transporting a 14-year-old Rhode Island girl to New Jersey for the purpose of engaging in commercial sexual activity. It is also alleged that Monteiro enticed the minor female to engage in sexually explicit conduct which was video recorded.
Monteiro and the minor female were located in a hotel room in Franklin Township, New Jersey, on April 6, 2015, by agents and officers from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the FBI and Franklin Township police. Monteiro was detained by Franklin Township police. The victim, who had been reported missing from a group home in Rhode Island in November 2014, was returned to Rhode Island.
The indictment, which charges Monteiro with one count each of sex trafficking of a minor to engage in a commercial sexual activity, interstate transportation of a minor with the intent that the minor participate in unlawful sexual activity and sexual exploitation of a child, is announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha; Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police; Bruce M. Foucart, Special Agent in Charge of HSI for New England; and Vincent B. Lisi, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Office of the FBI.
According to court documents, on March 23, 2015, Rhode Island State Police detectives received information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that they had received a report that a juvenile female from Rhode Island had allegedly been sexually molested by an adult male she met on Facebook and that the young teen was afraid to end the relationship due to threats of bodily harm.
According to court documents, an investigation by Rhode Island State Police identified the victim of the alleged sexual molestation as being a 14-year-old Rhode Island girl who was reported missing from a group home in Rhode Island on November 20, 2014. A Facebook friend of the missing girl told State Police that the girl had communicated to her that she had traveled to New Jersey with an individual identified as “Peezy.”
According to court documents, on April 6, 2015, Rhode Island State Police tracked a cell phone in the possession of the missing teenager to Franklin Township, New Jersey. Agents from HSI and the FBI, and police officers from Franklin Township located the missing girl and Paul Monteiro in a hotel room in Franklin Township.
Monteiro was arrested by Franklin Township police on New Jersey state charges and detained. A court authorized search of a cell phone belonging to Monteiro resulted in the discovery of a video of Monteiro allegedly involved in a sex act with the 14-year-old girl.
While speaking with the girl, an HSI agent located a Backpage.com advertisement depicting the young girl and a solicitation for male companionship. The girl later confirmed for investigators that she was the person in the picture and that Monteiro allegedly arranged for her to participate in sex acts with at least two individuals who responded to the advertisement.
A federal criminal complaint charging Monteiro with sex trafficking of a child and transporting a child with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity was issued in Rhode Island on May 1, 2015. Monteiro was returned to Rhode Island and appeared in federal court on May 29, 2015, and was ordered detained in federal custody by U.S District Court Magistrate Judge Patricia A. Sullivan.
A criminal complaint and an indictment are merely allegations and are not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Sex trafficking of a minor to engage in a commercial sexual activity and interstate transportation of a minor with the intent that the minor participate in acts of prostitution is punishable by statutory penalties of up to life imprisonment with a mandatory minimum of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000. Sexual exploitation of a child is punishable by statutory penalty of 15 to 30 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Pamela E. Chin.
United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha acknowledges and thanks Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County, New Jersey, Prosecutor, and prosecutors in his office, for their assistance in ensuring the quick return of Paul Monteiro to Rhode Island for prosecution in U.S. District Court in Providence.