Tuesday, November 16, 2004

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D.A. BROWN: COUPLE SENTENCED TO UP TO NINE YEARS IN PRISON FOR PROSTITUTING 15-YEAR-OLD RUNAWAY UPSTATE GIRL IN ELMHURST, QUEENS AND MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced today that two individuals have each been sentenced to up to nine years in prison for promoting prostitution by victimizing a Putnam County, New York 15-year-old runaway whom they forced to work in the sex trade on the streets of Elmhurst, Queens and Miami Beach, Florida.

District Attorney Brown said, “The defendants have been sentenced to State prison for luring a young and vulnerable 15-year-old girl into a degrading life of prostitution. They exploited her by forcing her to perform various sexual acts with scores of male customers and retained the proceeds for themselves. Prostitution is not a victimless crime; it is an offense against society.”

The District Attorney identified the defendants as Michael “Mello” Streat, 27, and Christine Waltzer, 24, both of 108-47 164th Street in Jamaica, Queens. The defendants pled guilty on October 27, 2004, to Promoting Prostitution in the Second Degree before Queens Supreme Court Justice Seymour Rotker who imposed today’s sentence of an indeterminate term in prison of from three years to nine years.

District Attorney Brown said that according to the charges the defendants forced the 15-year-old victim to work for them as a prostitute between January and March 2004 on Queens Boulevard between 69th Street and 51st Avenue in Elmhurst, Queens and on Collins Avenue in Miami Beach, Florida.

The District Attorney said that the defendants required the victim to perform up to three “tricks” a night, that defendant Waltzer told her to charge $60 for oral sex and $100 for sexual intercourse, that the victim gave all her prostitution earnings to defendant Waltzer and that she reported by cell phone to defendant Streat in Miami the number of sex acts she had performed and the amount of money she had received.

District Attorney Brown said that on January 9, 2004 defendant Waltzer told the victim that they would be traveling to Miami to meet defendant Streat. They subsequently obtained fraudulent identification containing her photograph and a fictional name and date of birth. The phony ID card was used to enable the victim to board an airline flight from Kennedy International Airport to Miami International Airport.

District Attorney Brown said that in Miami, defendant Streat told the victim to charge $80 for oral sex and $120 for sexual intercourse and to give police false personal information in the event of her arrest. The victim was arrested for prostitution on January 19, 2004 in Miami Beach, Florida and released into the custody of defendant Streat. She was then brought back by defendant Waltzer to Queens County where she was forced to continue to work for the defendants as a prostitute.

According to the District Attorney, the defendants were subsequently arrested on March 29, 2004 near 108-47 164th Street in Elmhurst where detectives recovered about $1,874 in cash from defendant Streat’s possession.

The investigation was conducted by Detectives Carl Martello and Richard Soto of the New York City Police Department’s Vice Enforcement Child Recovery Unit under the supervision of Sergeant Mark Crawford and the overall supervision of Inspector Christopher Rising, Commanding Officer, in conjunction with the District Attorney’s Special Proceedings Bureau.

Assistant District Attorney Kateri A. Gasper of the District Attorney's Special Proceedings Bureau prosecuted the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Anthony M. Communiello, Chief, and Oscar W. Ruiz, Deputy Chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Investigations Peter A. Crusco and Deputy Executive Assistant District Attorney for Investigations Linda M. Cantoni.