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Pair from Queens indicted for sex trafficking homeless woman: DA

Queens
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Two depraved Queens residents were indicted for sex trafficking a homeless woman and forcing her into prostitution, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

On Wednesday, Feb. 23, Katz announced that 29-year-old Jamaica resident Adam “Damian” Lee and 35-year-old Hollis resident Ida Copeland were allegedly involved in arranging “sex dates” between the homeless woman and other individuals at various hotels, private homes and other locations in Queens in January 2022. The pair were indicted by a Queens Grand Jury and arraigned in Supreme Court.

Lee was arraigned on Feb. 22 on a 14-count indictment and Copeland was arraigned on Feb. 23. Both defendants are charged with sex trafficking and promoting prostitution. Lee is also charged with rape, criminal sexual acts, sexual abuse and assault.

“As alleged, the two defendants in this case exploited the victim’s circumstances for their own benefit,” District Attorney Katz said. “The victim, who was homeless, was forced to sell sex for cash — money that defendant Lee collected and kept for himself. In addition, these defendants are accused of abusing the hotel employee’s position to target victims for sex trafficking. The reason the Human Trafficking Bureau exists is to  free victims and hold accountable those who would profit from such bondage.”

According to the case, on Jan 1. 2022, the 35-year-old victim, who had been staying at the Floral Park Motor Lodge in Nassau County, told Copeland, the hotel clerk, that she could not afford to stay at the hotel. Shortly after, Lee reportedly came to the woman’s door, identified himself as Copeland’s friend and claimed that she sent him.

Once inside the victim’s room, Lee allegedly told her that she now “worked for him” and ordered her to take off her clothes and put on sexy lingerie. When she refused, Lee allegedly threatened the victim with a gun and then forced her to take semi-nude photos that would be used in sex advertisements.

Days later on Jan. 5, Katz said that Lee took the victim to a private Queens residence where the defendant received payment from a customer. Lee then waited outside while the customer and victim were inside the residence but the customer soon became angry and refused to let the woman leave. The defendant then allegedly broke down the door, grabbed the victim and went to a nearby store to call Copeland, who arrived a short time later and took them to Casa Azul Blue Hotel on Jamaica Avenue, where they were now living.

Katz said that Lee left the woman with Copeland to go to the store. The victim informed Copeland that Lee had allegedly assaulted her to which the defendant essentially replied “that’s Damian for you.” Copeland then instructed the woman to learn how to deal with Lee, keep him happy and “make his quotas.”

Police from the 105th Precinct responded to a 911 call at the hotel and removed the victim from the location. But days later, Lee found her and brought her to another Queens hotel.

The charges stated that the victim stayed with Lee at the Pergola Hotel for two days in mid-January 2022. The defendant took her to meet with a man for sex on Jan. 15 and on Jan. 16, Lee allegedly forced the victim to have paid sex with another man at the Pergola Hotel.

At one point, Lee allegedly became angry at the victim and began destroying the room where they were staying. During the process, Lee allegedly assaulted the victim, punching her in the head and face causing her to sustain a black eye swelling and bruising. The defendant then allegedly sexually assaulted and raped her.

Following the incident, the victim managed to call the police and was taken to a nearby Queens hospital for treatment.

Lee and Copeland are set to return to court on March 14 and March 15 respectively. If convicted, the pair face up to 25 years in prison.

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