District Man and Woman Indicted on Federal Charges Stemming from Trafficking Children for Sex
WASHINGTON—Daraya Marshall, 35, and Jarnese Harris, 29, both of Washington, D.C., have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges alleging they engaged in sex trafficking of children and transported them for prostitution. Marshall also was indicted for child sexual abuse and production and possession of child pornography.
The indictment, which was returned on Sept. 17, 2015, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, was announced today by Acting U.S. Attorney Vincent H. Cohen, Jr., Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office, and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
Marshall and Harris were arrested earlier this summer and had been charged in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The case now will be prosecuted in the U.S. District Court, where the two defendants made their first appearances today. Both defendants pled not guilty to the charges and were ordered held pending a hearing on Sept. 30, 2015.
Marshall and Harris could face life prison terms if convicted of the charges. The indictment includes forfeiture allegations seeking all proceeds that can be traced to the charges related to sex trafficking of children, transportation of minors for prostitution, and child pornography.
According to the indictment, Marshall and Harris trafficked three children for sex and transported them between the District of Columbia and Maryland for the purpose of prostitution. The indictment alleges that Marshall and Harris began trafficking one of the children in the summer of 2014, and began trafficking the other two children earlier this year. The indictment also alleges that Marshall engaged in sexual acts with two of the children while they were under the age of 16. Finally, the indictment charges Marshall with production and possession of child pornography depicting one of the children.
“Those who engage in human trafficking are targeting the most vulnerable members of society, including children,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Cohen. “The federal prosecution of this case reflects the priority we have placed on aggressively combating this crime and saving victims from future abuse.”
“Child sex trafficking is an abhorrent crime that creates a cycle of victimization which must be stopped,” said Assistant Director in Charge Abbate. “The FBI is committed to bringing child predators to justice and rescuing children from this heinous exploitation. We will continue to work with our local, state, and federal partners to aggressively prevent and investigate crimes against children.”
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal laws and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.
In announcing the charges, Acting U.S. Attorney Cohen, Assistant Director in Charge Abbate, and Chief Lanier expressed appreciation for the work performed by detectives of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Youth Division, and Special Agents and Analysts of the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force. They also recognized the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Victim/Witness Advocates Lezlie Richardson and Veronica Vaughan; Victim/Witness Security Specialists Michael Hailey, Lesley Slade, Tanya Via, and Wanda Queen; Paralegal Specialists Tierra Nanches and Joyce Arthur; Criminal Investigator Mark Crawford, Assistant U.S. Attorney Cassidy Pinegar. Finally, they acknowledged the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff T. Cook, who investigated and is prosecuting the case.