Yonkers Man Convicted in White Plains Federal Court of Kidnapping and Sex Trafficking a 19-Year-Old Victim
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Diego Rodriguez, Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and Charles Gardner, the Commissioner of the Yonkers Police Department, announced that, yesterday afternoon, CLYDEDORO GRAHAM was found guilty of kidnapping a 19-year-old victim (the “Victim”), conspiring to engage in sex trafficking of the Victim, and attempting to engage in sex trafficking of the Victim. CLYDEDORO GRAHAM was convicted after a seven-day jury trial before United States District Judge Nelson S. Román.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “Clydedoro Graham preyed on a young, vulnerable victim. Together with his accomplices, he lured a 19-year-old to his apartment, kidnapped her, and tried to force her to work as a prostitute for him. This young woman endured a nightmare at the hands of the defendant. But thanks to the outstanding work of the FBI and the Yonkers Police Department, he did not get away with it and a unanimous jury has found him guilty of all charges.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Diego Rodriguez stated: “Graham lay in wait as his co-conspirators set a trap for their victim. Unbeknownst to her, the harrowing situation would play out for days before help arrived to save her from her captors’ plans. Although there are many who become entangled in a life of prostitution, this should not serve as an excuse for others to violate them and force them into sex trafficking schemes. Today’s conviction is proof of the FBI’s efforts to stop this type of illegal activity.”
Yonkers Police Commissioner Charles Gardner stated: “I want to thank the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the FBI for their efforts in this investigation and successful prosecution of this suspect. This case was initiated by our Patrol Officers who remained vigilant in searching for a missing person, who turned out to be the victim in this heinous crime. The verdict should be a warning to all who chose to engage in sex trafficking here in Yonkers and abroad that a substantial sentence in federal prison may be the result of your actions.”
According to the allegations in the Complaint and Superseding Indictment filed in federal court, and the evidence presented at trial:
On the evening of June 16, 2014, CLYDEDORO GRAHAM was at his apartment in Yonkers, New York (the “Apartment”), with his girlfriend and accomplice, Alisa Papp. His cousin, Kevin Graham, and his friend, Hector Garcia, were also present. As Papp, Kevin Graham, and Garcia knew, CLYDEDORO GRAHAM was a “pimp.” That night, the four co-conspirators agreed to lure a prostitute to the Apartment for the purpose of forcing her to work for them.
CLYDEDORO GRAHAM was the leader of this scheme. Using his cellphone, he went to Backpage.com, a website where prostitutes post advertisements. He trolled through the advertisements searching for a target, and eventually decided on the Victim. Kevin Graham called the Victim and led her to believe, falsely, that he wanted to hire her for a prostitution “date.”
When the Victim arrived, the co-conspirators were lying in wait. Papp served as the lookout, making sure the Victim did not arrive with anyone else. Kevin Graham met her outside and led her into the Apartment, while CLYDEDORO GRAHAM and Garcia hid inside. Once inside the Apartment—and at the direction of CLYDEDORO GRAHAM—the co-conspirators took away the Victim’s purse and phone, removed the battery from her phone, and told her that she was there to work as a prostitute for them. The Victim asked repeatedly to leave, but CLYDEDORO GRAHAM and his accomplices refused.
The co-conspirators told the Victim that she had no choice but to have sex with each of the men. She refused and asked again to go home. CLYDEDORO GRAHAM said she could give it up or they would “take it.” CLYDEDORO GRAHAM, Kevin Graham, and Hector Garcia took turns having sex with the Victim, against her will.
Later that night, Kevin Graham and Garcia left the Apartment. For the next two days and two nights, CLYDEDORO GRAHAM and Papp held the Victim captive in the Apartment. Among other coercive measures, CLYDEDORO GRAHAM removed the doorknob from the interior side of the Apartment’s front door to prevent the Victim from escaping. He then made plans to bring the Victim out onto the streets of Yonkers to prostitute her for his own benefit.
CLYDEDORO GRAHAM’s scheme unraveled on June 18, 2014, when two Yonkers police officers arrived at the Apartment after receiving a tip from individuals who had been searching for the Victim. The officers demanded to speak with the Victim, immediately determined that she was being held against her will, and brought her to safety.
On or about December 4, 2014, CLYDEDORO GRAHAM, Alisa Papp, Kevin Graham, and Hector Garcia were charged in a three-count Superseding Indictment with sex trafficking and kidnapping offenses. Papp, Kevin Graham, and Garcia entered pleas of guilty before trial and are awaiting sentencing.
CLYDEDORO GRAHAM proceeded to trial on October 27, 2015. Yesterday, the jury found him guilty of all charges: one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison; one count of attempted sex trafficking, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison; and one count of kidnapping, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by a judge.
CLYDEDORO GRAHAM is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Román on April 15, 2016.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI’s Westchester Violent Crimes Task Force, which comprises agents and detectives of the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, the City of Yonkers Police Department, the Westchester County Police, and the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office. He also thanked the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kathryn Martin, Douglas Zolkind, and Daniel Filor are in charge of the prosecution.