PROVIDENCE, R.I. (CBS) — A Dorchester, Mass., man is facing several charges including sex trafficking of a minor, the R.I. State Police reported Saturday in a prepared statement.
The investigation began Friday night, after the R.I. State Police was contacted by the Brockton Police Department about a 15-year-old girl who was reported missing by her mother at 12:30 a.m. Friday. The R.I. State Police, Brockton Police and Providence Police were able to track the missing girl’s location to an apartment located at 202 Jewett St. in Providence.
Investigators were dispatched to the address and found the missing girl, who was in the company of Anthony Pledger, 26, of 50 Evans St., Dorchester. Police also found a 16-year-old Malden, Mass., girl who had also been reported missing from Massachusetts. Pledger was arrested at the scene.
According to police, Pledger met the 15-year-old on a social media site and arranged to meet her Thursday afternoon at a location near her home. Pledger and the 15-year-old then spent Thursday night at the Providence apartment before traveling back to the Boston area to pick up her 16-year-old friend, the police said.
Pledger took both girls to the Providence apartment, where he promised them clothing and other compensation if they agreed to perform sexual acts for money, the police said. When the girls would not comply, Pledger refused to bring them back to Massachusetts despite their repeated requests.
The 15-year-old told investigators that Pledger sexually assaulted her in Massachusetts, as well as inside the Providence apartment.
The owner of the Providence apartment, Emma Schnorr of 202 Jewett St., Providence, was also arrested after obstructing investigators by denying the missing 15-year-old was inside the apartment, police said, adding she was also found to be in possession of “crack” cocaine.
A search warrant for the apartment was issued early Saturday morning. A search of the apartment resulted in the seizure electronic equipment including computers, tablets and cell phones. Also seized were seven bags of cocaine with a total weight of about 5 grams, oxycodone pills and $4,582 cash, the police said. The R.I. State Police Computer Crimes Unit is expected to conduct an examination of the electronic equipment.
Pledger was arraigned Saturday morning at the R.I. State Police barracks in Lincoln Woods on charges including sex trafficking of a minor, third-degree sexual assault, enticement of a child, and possession of a controlled substance.
Schnorr also was arraigned Saturday morning and faces charges including obstruction of a police officer and possession of cocaine with the intent to deliver.
Both suspects were ordered held without bail at the Adult Correctional Institution pending a formal arraignment in the Sixth District Court in Providence on Monday morning.
Both juveniles were released to the custody of their parents Saturday night. The investigation is ongoing and investigators are looking for other potential victims in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, the police said.
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