S. Ozone Park pimp gets 8 yrs. in prison

Reginald Cooke Photo courtesy Queens DA
By Connor Adams Sheets

A South Ozone Park pimp has been sentenced to up to eight years in prison for forcing a 19-year-old girl into working for him as a prostitute under the threat of murder, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

Reginald Cooke, 21, of 149-50 Lefferts Blvd., demanded that the girl turn all the money she made as a prostitute over to him and beat her if she did not make enough cash, the DA said.

“The defendant virtually enslaved a teenage girl and forced her to work for him as a prostitute and beat her if she failed to make enough money,” Brown said. “Sex trafficking is a violent and degrading crime and the sentence imposed today by the court is more than warranted to protect society and other young girls who might fall prey to the defendant.”

Cooke pleaded guilty before Queens Supreme Court Justice Steven Paynter last month to sex trafficking and attempted criminal possession of a weapon.

Paynter sentenced Cooke Friday to two to six years in prison on the sex trafficking charge and a consecutive term of two years in prison on the weapons charge, the DA said. After Cooke is released from prison, he will be required to register as a sex offender, the DA said.

In the month she was a prostitute, the teen lived at Cooke’s South Ozone Park home, where he became increasingly violent and threatened to shoot her if she did not make enough money, Brown said.

The teen girl worked for Cooke at various “tracks,” or known prostitution locations frequented by prostitutes and their customers, in Flushing, Jamaica, Brooklyn, Nassau County and New Jersey in August 2010, Brown said.

In mid-August, Cooke allegedly choked the teen with a belt, hit her in the face and body and threatened to kill her, the DA said.

Cooke was arrested Sept. 9, 2010, on gun charges and repeatedly called the girl from jail, telling her to prostitute herself to raise money for his $150,000 bail, Brown said. Cooke was originally arraigned Sept. 24 on a 13-count indictment charging him with sex trafficking, promoting prostitution, assault, attempted promoting prostitution, aggravated harassment and conspiracy.

He is accused of calling the girl again in mid-September and telling her he was going to be bailed out by a family member and that he would kill the 19-year-old because she failed to make enough money to bail him out, Brown said.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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