Dorchester man charged in federal court with sex trafficking of underage girls
A Dorchester man accused of trying to lure two teenagers into prostitution and who allegedly had sex with one of them in Providence had promised that he could help them earn tens of thousands of dollars and live a glamorous life, according to federal court documents made public Friday.
“We can make between 6 to 10 grand a month,” Anthony Pledger allegedly told one girl, a 16-year-old from the Brockton area, on a social media website, according to court records.
The girl indicated that she was not interested; Pledger insisted, according to court data.
“I’ll teach you everything you should know, and I [will] put you in your own car, crib, whatever you want,” he allegedly said, using abbreviations and writing in slang at times.
Pledger, 26, was charged this week in US District Court in Boston with sex trafficking of minors, attempted sex trafficking of minors, and transportation of minors in interstate commerce for purpose of prostitution.
He was initially arrested by State Police in October, but the transfer of the case to federal court elevates the charges and the punishment he faces.
Pledger faces a minimum of 10 years and possibly life in prison on some charges. He has not yet appeared in US District Court in Boston, but pleaded not guilty in Rhode Island.
Authorities said that Pledger contacted the 16-year-old girl in October 2013 through an Internet site and offered to introduce her to prostitution, telling her that he would protect her and that he would not introduce her to dangerous clients. After several conversations, the girl refused, but she told Pledger that her cousin, 15 at the time, was interested, according to court records.
Pledger drove to Brockton in October and picked up the 15-year-old, according to court records. She told him she was 18. He then drove her into Boston and plied her with alcohol and marijuana.
At one point, according to court records, the girl asked to return home, and the girl’s mother text messaged Pledger, saying she was looking for her “15 yr. old baby girl,” according to court records. Pledger denied knowing the girl, however. Instead, he had sex with her, according to the court records.
Pledger, according to the court records, brought the girl to a home in Providence, where he allegedly had sex with her again, then brought her back to the Boston area, where they met her cousin. Pledger also picked up a third girl who told the two younger girls that she worked for Pledger and was going to engage in prostitution that night and make money. Pledger brought the girl to a Dedham hotel, according to court records.
Pledger and the two teenagers returned to Providence. By then, the 15-year-old girl’s mother notified police who tracked him to a home there using a GPS signal from his phone, according to court records. Authorities found the girls in the basement and arrested Pledger.
Pledger had denied having sexual relations with the teenager, telling police: “They told me they were 18 . . . I didn’t do anything with them, I didn’t kiss them, hug them, touch them. I didn’t have sex with them.”