A Dorchester man has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges, including sex trafficking of a minor, after he was arrested in Providence in the company of two missing Massachusetts teenagers, according to Rhode Island State Police.
Anthony Pledger, 26, was arraigned Saturday at the State Police Lincoln Woods Barracks before a Rhode Island justice of the peace.
Pledger pleaded not guilty to charges of sex trafficking of a minor, sexual assault, enticement of a child, and possession of a controlled substance.
Rhode Island State Police were contacted by the Brockton Police Department about a 15-year-old girl who was reported missing by her mother early Friday morning, Rhode Island State Police Captain Kevin M. O’Brien said in a statement.
Investigators from the Rhode Island State Police, Brockton police, and Providence police tracked the missing girl’s location to an apartment on Jewett Street in Providence, where she was found with Pledger and her 16-year-old friend from Malden, the statement said.
Pledger allegedly made contact with the 15-year-old girl on a social media website before picking her up near her home Thursday, O’Brien said. After spending one night with the girl in the Providence apartment, Pledger returned to the Boston area and picked up her friend, according to O’Brien.
According to police, Pledger promised the two girls clothing and other compensation if they agreed to perform sexual acts for money.
When the girls refused, police said, he denied their requests to be driven back to Massachusetts.
The owner of the Providence apartment, Emma Schnorr, was also arrested and charged with obstruction of a police officer and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, the statement said. She pleaded not guilty to both charges at her arraignment Saturday at the State Police Lincoln Woods Barracks.
Pledger and Schnorr are being held without bail pending a court hearing in the Sixth District Court in Providence on Monday morning.
Both girls were released to the custody of their parents Friday night and police are working to identify any other potential victims in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.Haven Orecchio-Egresitz can be reached at Haven.firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @HavenTaylor.