U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York
(716) 843-5700
January 22, 2015

Couple Charged with Recruiting a Minor for Prositution

ROCHESTER, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Jacob Shamp, 23, and Ashlee Cook, 24, both of Leichester, NY, were arrested and charged by criminal complaint with recruiting an underage girl to commit a commercial sex act and conspiracy to do so. The charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Marangola, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, the couple posted an ad on Backpage.com, advertising a minor victim for prostitution. Law enforcement officers conducted an undercover operation and arranged to meet the girl in Gates, NY. When officers arrived, they took a statement from the minor victim.

Shamp and Cook made an initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan W. Feldman. Shamp is being held without bail pending a detention hearing on January 27, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. Cook was released on her own recognizance and will return to court on February 5, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. for a status conference.

The criminal complaint is the culmination of an investigation on the part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the State Police, under the direction of major Craig Hanesworth.

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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