A Cambria Heights man accused of nearly killing his transgender girlfriend last year after she refused to sell her body for his profit now faces attempted murder and sex trafficking charges, prosecutors announced on Thursday.
David Viltus, 30, of 221st Street allegedly slashed the 29-year-old woman’s face with a scalpel and violently assaulted her on April 19, 2018 inside the Hillside Hotel at 140-17 Queens Blvd. in Jamaica. According to Chief Assistant District Attorney John M. Ryan, Viltus allegedly went on the attack after the victim told him she would no longer let him pimp her out to other men.
“The victim – who was involved in an intimate relationship with the defendant – was allegedly brutally beaten by the man when she tried to stop prostituting herself for him,” Ryan said in an April 18 statement. “She was repeatedly punched and choked out all because she didn’t want to have sex with strangers for cash any more. This is not a victimless crime.”
According to the indictment, Viltus allegedly coerced his girlfriend into a life of prostitution, arranging for sexual encounters with strangers and pocketing the proceeds.
While at the Hillside Hotel on April 19, 2018, authorities said, Viltus’ girlfriend told him that she would no longer do his bidding — sending Viltus into a violent rage that almost took her life.
Prosecutors said Viltus allegedly struck his girlfriend and choked her until she could barely breath. He allegedly proceeded to slash her face with a scalpel, causing deep lacerations; punched her in the face repeatedly; slammed a plant into her head; placed her in a headlock and even threw her against an automated door, knocking it off its hinges in the process.
Officers from the 103rd Precinct responded to a 911 call at the hotel and found the woman beaten and slashed. She was treated at a local hospital, and Viltus was taken into custody at the crime scene.
Shortly after his arrest, authorities noted, Viltus allegedly contacted the victim and tried to convince her to drop the charges.
Viltus appeared in Queens Criminal Court on April 17, 2019 for arraignment on the 12-count indictment which charges him with second-degree attempted murder, first-degree attempted assault, second-degree assault, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, sex trafficking, second-degree promoting prostitution, first-degree criminal contempt and fourth-degree witness tampering.
Acting Queens Supreme Court Justice Peter Vallone Jr. ordered Viltus held without bail and to return to court on July 15. He faces up to 25 years behind bars if convicted.
Ryan, meanwhile, said that the Queens District Attorney’s office remains committed to helping victims of sex trafficking.
“This is the first transgender sex trafficking case our office is prosecuting,” Ryan said. “But we are certain that this is not the first time someone in the transgender community has been victimized in this way. Sex trafficking amongst transgender people is sorely under reported in Queens and elsewhere. Victims of sex trafficking – regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity – should not hesitate to come forward. Our office is here to help everyone.”