Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced that Jmaire Wray (age 16), of East Providence, pleaded nolo contendre on September 11, 2015 before Family Court Judge Kathleen A. Voccola to two counts of sex trafficking of a minor, one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor, and one count of felony assault. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Wray received a certified sentence of 15 years with six years to serve.
Wray will begin his sentence at the Rhode Island Training School until a "modification hearing" takes place at which time a Family Court judge will determine if the sentence should be modified or continued to be served at the Adult Correctional Institution. The modification hearing must be held prior to the 19th birthday of the juvenile. Under certification, Wray is convicted and the sentence will extend into adulthood.
It is alleged that Wray and federally indicted co-conspirator Reginald Chaney (age 20), of East Providence, forced two young females, ages 15 and 16, to take provocative photos which Wray and Chaney posted to Backpage.com for the purpose of soliciting sex for money.
It is further alleged that on several occasions between the dates of January 18, 2015, and January 30, 2015, Chaney and Wray arranged for meetings between the victims and individuals who responded to advertisements on Backpage.com, offering the victims for the purposes of commercial sexual activity. The meetings allegedly occurred at motels in Seekonk, Massachusetts, and at locations in Providence, Warwick, Charlestown, and Narragansett.
Chaney and Wray were arrested in East Providence by East Providence Police on January 29, 2015, based on information developed during an investigation conducted by the Providence Police Department with the assistance of Homeland Security Investigations.
Chaney is currently being held in Rhode Island state custody as a Superior Court probation violator on a five-year suspended sentence imposed on January 14, 2015, for a weapons charge. In April, 2015, a federal grand jury in Providence returned a six-count indictment charging Reginald Chaney with conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a child, conspiracy to transport a minor, and two counts each of sex trafficking of a child and transportation of a minor.
"This case is a stark reminder that sex trafficking can and does happen in every community. It is truly disturbing for someone as young as the defendant to be manipulating other teens and forcing them into the commercial sex industry," said Attorney General Peter Kilmartin. "I commend the cooperative efforts of local, state, and federal law enforcement to save these young victims. That cooperation between agencies is critical to shutting down these types of operations."
"The common thread among all our human trafficking cases is Backpage.com, the favored site for human traffickers. Backpage.com can no longer claim ignorance of the illegal activity that is conducted through their website while making a profit off the selling of people for sex."
East Providence Police Detective Michael Field, Providence Police Detective Koren Garcia and Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Jodie Donaghy led the investigation. Special Assistant Attorney General Arthur DeFelice prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of Attorney General. The case against Reginald Chaney is being prosecuted jointly in federal court by Assistant U.S. Attorney Pamela E. Chin and Assistant Rhode Island Attorney General Daniel Carr Guglielmo.