Case #162 - Teacher's assistant accused of sex trafficking 15-year-old girl

Rochester, NY|Sex-Trafficking Minors|Add Comment
By: Gary Craig, Democrat and Chronicle
Marques Williams

Marques Williams, a teacher’s assistant at BOCES 1, is now facing the same federal criminal charge as his father: underage sex trafficking.

The FBI arrested Williams on Monday, accusing him of the trafficking of a 15-year-old girl in 2011. His father, Michael Williams, was arrested in April and accused of working with a local woman, Chelsea Willenborg, to prostitute a 16-year-old.

Marques Williams, a 26-year-old Rochester resident, is accused of promoting the 15-year-old for prostitution through backpage.com.

The girl told the FBI in July that between September of 2011 and July “she prostituted for Marques Williams,” according to an affidavit from FBI Special Agent Barry Couch.

The girl “estimated that she had sex with approximately ten to fifteen men on a daily basis and made approximately $1,000 daily from the prostitution activities,” the affidavit states.

The girl said Williams told her how she could make money “and how she could be taken care of,” court papers allege. She told authorities “that Williams taught her everything about prostitution, from prices to how to tell if you were dealing with police.”

Appearing in federal court Monday in Rochester, Williams said he worked one-on-one with a “high-needs” 16-year-old for Monroe County’s Board of Cooperative Educational Services. BOCES 1 had yet to be alerted about the arrest, but federal probation officials said Monday that they would make the notification.

Williams admitted in an interview with the FBI that he “posted prostitution advertisements” of the girl using his telephone, court papers allege. Court records show that the phone was seized.

“I understand I was involved in something I should not have been,” he allegedly told the FBI.

Probation officials recommended that Williams be released with electronic monitoring and a curfew. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany Lee agreed, and U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Feldman approved the pretrial conditions.

Williams declined to comment after court.

Authorities allege that Williams rented rooms at the East Avenue Inn in Rochester for the prostitution. John Billone Jr., the president of the inn owners Flower City Management, said his company purchased the hotel in July 2011 and has worked to improve it since.

For one, he said, the inn no longer accepts cash payments — the kind of transaction that can lead to prostitution.

Backpage.com has become a popular conduit for escort services. Across the country, anti-trafficking organizations and lawmakers have unsuccessfully pushed for backpage.com — owned by Village Voice Media — to stop advertising adult services.

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