Jacksonville, FL-(ENEWSPF)- U.S. Attorney Robert E. O’Neill announces that U.S. District Judge Marcia M. Howard today sentenced Ian Sean Gordon (age 29, of Tallahassee) to life in federal prison for child sex trafficking. Gordon pled guilty on September 8, 2010. According to court documents, the minor victim was a 15-year-old female. Court records show that on February 24, 2010, the minor and several friends ran away from a juvenile treatment and rehabilitation center in Jacksonville, Florida. Shortly after doing so, the child went to the apartment of a man named Melvin Friedman at 7613 Jasper Avenue in Jacksonville, Florida. While staying there, the child was encouraged to use and began using “crack cocaine” for the first time. The child was also introduced to prostitution as the way to obtain more crack cocaine or the money necessary to purchase more crack cocaine.
At some point after March 12, 2010, a presently unindicted person took the minor to the Super 8 Motel located at 2228 Phillips Highway where Gordon and a friend named Antonio Ford were staying. The minor was brought there to engage in prostitution. Upon entering Gordon’s hotel room, Gordon’s friend commented that the minor looked too young. Gordon’s friend believed the child appeared to be between 12 and 13 years old. The minor spent that night with Gordon in the hotel room, and Gordon later advised his friend that he was going to make a lot of money off of the child.
The child ultimately ended up with Gordon for a period of 10 to 14 days and performed commercial sex acts at his command at least 50 times. On some occasions, Gordon would transport the child to the locations where she would engage in commercial sex acts. At other times, offenders would come to hotels where Gordon and the child were staying to engage in commercial sex acts. Gordon harbored and maintained the child the entire time that she was engaging in commercial sex acts at various hotels in Jacksonville, and Gordon provided food, shelter, and illegal drugs to the child derived, in part, from the money the minor earned while engaging in commercial sex acts.
To facilitate the commercial sex acts, Gordon gave the minor instructions on what to do. These included (a) telling potential customers to “show me what you got” to insure the potential customer was not a police officer; (b) always beginning the price negotiations at $100, and never going below $20; (c) never mentioning Gordon if the minor was apprehended; (d) lying about her name and age if the minor was apprehended; (e) targeting Mexican customers because they made good clients and usually had money; (f) always acting like she enjoyed the commercial sex acts; and (g) always asking for tips after completion of the commercial sex acts.
One way that Gordon obtained customers was by using his cellular telephone to contact potential customers and show them pictures of the child. Gordon took pictures of her on his cell phone, and one of the pictures was a photograph of the child laying nude on a bed in a hotel room. Gordon would use the photo to show potential offenders what the child looked like. The picture depicted the child’s unclothed body from the neck down. On May 12, 2010, Gordon was arrested by officers with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. At that time, Gordon had in his possession a Samsung Model SGH-T139 cellular telephone. Pursuant to a search warrant issued by a United States Magistrate Judge on June 6, 2010, two pictures of the child, including one depicting the child unclothed, were found on Gordon’s phone.
Gordon also used a 1999 Dodge Durango to transport the minor to engage in commercial sex acts. The child advised agents that in connection with Gordon’s use of the vehicle, some of her clothing would be inside the vehicle. On May 11, 2010, a United States Magistrate Judge issued a search warrant for Gordon’s vehicle, and during a subsequent search of the vehicle, agents located items of the child’s clothing. The clothing included a pair of blood stained jeans, and upon further questioning of the child, the child advised investigators that the blood stains were from her menstrual cycle. The child reported that Gordon caused her to engage in commercial sex acts while she was in a period of menstruation.
Gordon used means of force and threats of force to cause the child to engage in commercial sex acts. Court records detail this violence. At one point, Gordon became frustrated with the child for some unknown reason. When she attempted to leave, Gordon took her clothing. When she protested that she wanted to leave, Gordon told her that she was not leaving, began choking her and threw her on the hotel bed. While choking her, Gordon got on top of her and, while holding her down, forcibly raped her.
On another occasion, the minor fled. Gordon, however, located the child in a nearby neighborhood and physically restrained her by dragging her to his vehicle, throwing her inside, and then threatening further violence to her if she tried to get away. During this episode, Gordon ran up behind the child, began choking her, and picked her up. She tried to break free, but Gordon was holding onto her too tightly. Gordon then rammed her head into his car door twice before throwing her inside his vehicle, all in the presence of a witness. Gordon then threatened her and told her that she was going to make money by the end of the night, and she was going to be dead. He also threatened to kill her with a gun he had. He told her that he would kill her if she tried to run away, and he told her not to try to open his car door because he had a knife and would cut her fingers off if she did.
Gordon also made implied threats about the child’s family and told her that he had been watching her for a while and knew everything about her. Gordon also advised her that he had killed people in the past and that it would not bother him to kill her. The child also knew that Gordon possessed what she believed was a real firearm and had observed Gordon use that item once. Upon his arrest, a replica firearm was recovered from Gordon’s room, although Gordon maintained the replica was the property of another individual. According to the child, as a result of the force and threats of force, she did what Gordon demanded, to include commercial sex acts, out of fear of being hurt or killed and out of fear of what Gordon might do to her family members.
The child eventually escaped from Gordon and made contact with her mother. Upon being picked up by her mother, the child and her mother went to a sub-station of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and reported Gordon’s sexual assault. The FBI and JSO then began the investigation which ultimately led to Gordon’s arrest and prosecution for child sex trafficking.
At the sentencing hearing on January 10, 2011, the child bravely confronted Gordon and delivered a moving statement to the presiding judge before the Judge imposed sentence. The Court received a copy of that statement as an exhibit.
U.S. Attorney Robert E. O’Neill stated: “Prosecuting those who seek to harm and exploit children is a top priority for the United States Attorney’s Office. The trafficking of minors for the purposes of sexual exploitation is a serious offense. We remain committed to working with our partners and prosecuting those who prey on children.”
“This crime highlights the need for the community and law enforcement to remain vigilant for those victims who may be exploited by others. Human Trafficking is one of the most insidious crimes we investigate. I’m especially proud of our leadership in educating officers and citizens about this issue. This case highlights, once again, the excellent working relationship of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, and the US Attorney’s Office,” said Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford. I’d also like to remind our citizens that if they suspect human trafficking, or any crime, they can contact us anonymously at [email protected]” he added.
Special Agent in Charge James Casey, FBI, commented, “For the victims of human trafficking, the case is never truly closed, because the effects of their experiences can last a lifetime. However, with the successful conclusion of this investigation and prosecution, we can be assured that this offender will not be in a position to endanger other children for a long time to come.”
Six additional individuals were charged involving this same minor victim.
- Phillip Anthony Aiken was charged with sex trafficking of a minor. Trial is scheduled for April 4, 2011.
- Oris Alexander English was charged with sex trafficking of a minor. Trial is scheduled for March 7, 2011.
- Antonio Ford pleaded guilty on October 29, 2010 to misprision of a felony. Sentencing is scheduled for March 14, 2011.
- Melvin Eugene Friedman was charged with sex trafficking of a minor; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence; possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; conspiracy, distribution, and aiding and abetting in the sale of five grams or more of crack cocaine; maintaining a residence for the use of manufacturing, storing, distributing, and using controlled substances. Trial is scheduled for March 7, 2011.
- Leeann Adkins pleaded guilty on December 15, 2010 to sex trafficking of a minor. Sentencing is scheduled for March 28, 2011.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visitwww.projectsafechildhood.gov.
This case was investigated by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and the FBI. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mac D. Heavener, III.