Flushing Man Also Booked In Sex Sting
Two men from Queens Village and Flushing were charged last week in two separate cases with sex crimes involving minors, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced.
The suspects were identified by the Queens District Attorney’s office as Christopher Whitfield, 24, of 113th Avenue in Queens Village and Fernando Del Rio, 41, of Smart Street in Flushing. Both defendants were arraigned last Wednesday, Apr. 18, in Queens Criminal Court.
“[Whitfield] is alleged to have raped his victim and forced her to work as a prostitute, and when she protested about selling her body for sex he allegedly burned and scarred her,” Brown said in a statement. “In the other case, [Del Rio] is accused of sending to a person whom he believed to be an underaged female sexually explicit messages and then attempting to meet her for sex. If convicted, the defendants deserve to be sentenced to lengthy terms in prison both as punishment and to send a clear message that crimes such as these will not be tolerated in Queens County.”
Whitfield was charged with firstdegree kidnapping, sex trafficking, second-degree promoting prostitution, second-degree assault, third-degree rape, third-degree criminal sexual act and endangering the welfare of a child. The suspect, who faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted, was ordered held on $200,000 bail (with a bail sufficiency hearing) and to return to court on May 4.
Del Rio is charged with attempted use of a child in a sexual performance, second-degree attempted rape, second-degree attempted criminal sexual act, first-degree attempted dissemination of indecent material to minors and attempted endangering the welfare of a child.
The defendant, who faces up to seven years in prison if convicted, was ordered held on $75,000 bail and to return to court on May 2.
According to the charges in the Whitfield case, the 15-year-old girl, who had run away from home, was told by Whitfield on Mar. 8 that she was going to make money for him by having sexual intercourse with men in exchange for cash that would be paid to him.
In furtherance of his scheme, it is alleged that Whitfield posted prostitution advertisements of the victim on backpage.com, and that between Mar. 8 and Apr. 1, numerous men responded to the ads and that the victim met them on a daily basis at hotels and other locations in Queens where she had sexual intercourse and/or oral sex with them for money, which she paid to Whitfield.
It is also alleged that Whitfield raped her twice and forced her to perform oral sex on him.
Lastly, it is alleged that when the victim repeatedly asked to leave and stop engaging in prostitution, Whitfield threatened to physically beat her and on several occasions burned her on the breast and wrist with cigarettes and, heating a razor, burned her on the leg.
All three alleged burnings resulted in scars. The victim managed to escape when she was left alone.
Regarding the Del Rio case, according to the charges, an NYPD vice detective was operating in an undercover capacity as a 14-year-old girl from Queens on multiple occasions between Apr. 11 and 17, during which time he received numerous instant messages from Del Rio, who was using the screen name fdelrio70 @aol.com from his AOL account.
Del Rio’s messages allegedly were sexual in nature and included invitations to meet him for sexual activity in Queens.
He was arrested last Tuesday, Apr. 17, when he appeared at a prearranged Queens location for what he allegedly believed would be a sexual encounter with the 14-year-old he had been instant messaging.
The Whitfield investigation was conducted by Det. Patrick Murphy of the NYPD Queens Special Victims Squad, under the supervision of Lt. Vicky McDermott, commanding officer.
The Del Rio investigation was conducted by Det. Sean Ryan of the NYPD Major Case Squad’s Vice Enforcement Division, under the supervision of Sgt. Michael Daly and Lt. Michael Costello, and the overall supervision of Deputy Inspector Anthony Favale, coordinator of Vice Enforcement, and Chief Anthony Izzo, chief of the Organized Crime Control Bureau.
Assistant District Attorneys Jessica L. Melton and Jeanine Diehl of the District Attorney’s Special Proceedings Bureau are prosecuting the Whitfield case.
Senior Assistant District Attorney Kateri A. Gasper of the District Attorney’s Special Proceedings Bureau’s Computer Crime Unit is prosecuting the Del Rio case, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Robert D. Alexander, chief of the Computer Crimes Unit.
All three cases are being supervised by Assistant District Attorneys Anthony M. Communiello, the Special Proceedings Bureau chief, and Oscar W. Ruiz, deputy bureau 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.
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It was noted that a criminal complaint is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.