AMSTERDAM -- A man and a woman were arrested by Amsterdam police on Friday, accused of sex trafficking and assaulting a 19-year-old girl who was reported missing from Pennsylvania.
Police charged James L. Williams, 35, of 260 North Pearl St., Apt. 6A, Albany, and Jasmen R. Morning, 24, of 260 Locust Ave., Apt. 2, Amsterdam, with sex trafficking. Morning also faces a charge of third-degree assault, according to a police report.
Williams and Morning were apprehended after Amsterdam police responded to a report at 7:12 a.m. that a woman could be heard yelling for help from a red SUV parked at the bottom of Lark Street, near the railroad tracks, according to police.
"One of the patrol units responding observed the red SUV leaving the area," said Detective Sgt. Sal Megna. "When it was confirmed that there was nobody down on Lark Street anymore, the SUV was stopped on Church Street. It was the same individuals that were down on Lark Street. The female was visibly shaken from the assault, and that's how we got the rest of the information."
Detectives interviewed the injured 19-year-old and learned she was a victim of sex trafficking and was listed in the national database as a missing and endangered person from Pennsylvania, police said. Further investigation revealed Williams met the victim in the New York City area and lured her to the Capitol Region a few weeks ago under false pretenses before forcing her to engage in prostitution on several different occasions in Albany, police said.
The victim was brought toAmsterdam by Williams on Friday, where they met with Morning and then traveled to the bottom of Lark Street, police said. Police allege Morning then pulled the 19-year-old out of the car and violently assaulted her at Williams' request.
The victim suffered injuries to her face, head, hands, back and legs, police said. She was brought to police headquarters where she was treated for her injuries by Amsterdam Fire Department paramedics.
"The family has been contacted, and they know that she is now safe," Megna said.
Both Williams and Morning were arraigned in Amsterdam City Court by Judge Lisa Lorman and were sent to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility on $50,000 cash bail.
Megna said neither Williams nor Morning had been charged with sex trafficking in the state of New York before. He said police have received some information that there may be more people involved in the case, possibly more women, but he did not have further details to report as of Friday.
He said the investigation was continuing, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Montgomery County District Attorney Kelli McCoski were assisting Amsterdam police detectives.