Rochester Woman Pleads Guilty to Sex Trafficking Charge
ROCHESTER, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced today that Kasandra Weeks, of Rochester, NY, pleaded guilty to sex trafficking using coercion, before U.S. District Judge David G. Larimer. The charge carries a minimum penalty of 15 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 between June and August of 2013, Weeks and co-defendant Steven Jones approached an adult female while she was walking down Jay Street in Rochester. Weeks and Jones offered her drugs and drove her to a hotel in Henrietta. When the female victim asked for a ride home, Weeks and Jones agreed but instead drove her to Lancaster, NY. While in Lancaster, the two coerced the victim to engage in prostitution by refusing to drive her back to Rochester.
Weeks posted ads for the victim as an escort using the Internet classified advertising website, Backpage.com. The victim engaged in commercial sex acts and gave the proceeds to Weeks and Jones. Eventually, the victim was able to escape.
Weeks was arrested along with Jones and five others in February 2015. She is the first to be convicted. 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.
The plea is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Child Exploitation Task Force which includes the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the Rochester Police Department, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations.
Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.