Monday, May 16, 2016
Greenbelt, Maryland – A federal criminal complaint has been filed charging Raleigh McClam, age 36, and Savion Sharpe, age 22, both of District Heights, Maryland, with conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor. The complaint was filed on May 5, 2016, and was unsealed on May 13, 2016, upon the arrest of McClam. At a detention hearing today U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy J. Sullivan ordered that McClam be detained pending trial. Sharpe is detained on related state charges. No federal court appearance has been scheduled for Sharpe.
The charges were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Kevin Perkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County Police Department.
According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, on December 29, 2015, officers with the Montgomery County Police Department received a 911 call from a female stating that she was a prostitute and was in fear of a man who was outside her Rockville motel room. The caller described the man and stated she was staying in room 257. When officers arrived at the motel they saw McClam and Sharpe sitting in a vehicle in the motel parking lot. Sharpe matched the description supplied by the 911 caller. Sharpe and McClam told the officers that they were guests at the motel. The officers knocked repeatedly on the door of room 257, which was eventually answered by a female (Victim 1). The female denied that she was engaged in prostitution and claimed that Sharpe was her boyfriend, but was unable to provide officers with his name.
Subsequent investigation revealed that Victim 1 was 16 year old. During interviews with Victim 1, she told officers that she met Sharpe in December 2015, when he approached her about working for him as a prostitute. Victim 1 stated that McClam was Sharpe’s manager. According to the affidavit, Victim 1 told officers that McClam drove Sharpe, Victim 1 and another woman to the Rockville motel on the evening of December 28, 2015, and had sex with Victim 1 before she saw any customers, as a kind of “test.” Victim 1 also stated that Sharpe had provided Victim 1 with a cell phone to communicate with him and investigators recovered the phone. A forensic analysis revealed text messages between Sharpe and Victim 1, including messages on December 29, 2015, when police were at the motel in Rockville.
Law enforcement also located multiple online advertisements for prostitution services in the Rockville, Montgomery County, Maryland area, associated with an email account allegedly used by McClam. According to the affidavit, McClam also had a social media account. An undercover officer contacted McClam through that account. During their conversations, McClam indicated he ran an escort service in Rockville and elsewhere and had four girls “working for him.” After providing the undercover with his phone number, which was also found in Victim 1’s phone, the undercover investigator and McClam exchanged text messages and arranged to meet at a restaurant. At the time of the meeting, McClam was arrested a short distance from the restaurant in his vehicle. The vehicle matched the description provided by Victim 1 of the vehicle McClam used to drive her on December 28, 2015, as well as the vehicle occupied by McClam and Sharpe outside the motel on December 29, 2015.
If convicted, McClam and Sharpe each face a maximum of life in prison for conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor.
A criminal complaint is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by criminal complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
The case was investigated by the FBI-led Maryland Child Exploitation Task Force (MCETF), created in 2010 to combat child prostitution, with members from10 state and federal law enforcement agencies. The Task Force coordinates with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Maryland State Police Child Recovery Unit to identify missing children being advertised online for prostitution.
MCETF partners with the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, formed in 2007 to discover and rescue victims of human trafficking while identifying and prosecuting offenders. Members include federal, state and local law enforcement, as well as victim service providers and local community members. For more information about the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, please visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/md/priorities_human.html.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended FBI and Montgomery County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly O. Hayes and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Francesca Liquori, of the U.S. Justice Department‘s Organized Crime and Gang Section, who are prosecuting the case.
Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland
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