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Child Exploitation

Western New York man pleads guilty to sex trafficking of minors

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – A Western New York man pleaded guilty March 27 to sex trafficking of minors. The guilty plea is the result of an extensive investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York State Police and Greece (N.Y.) Police Department.

Thomas Cramer, 43, of Brighton, N.Y., faces up to life in prison and a $250,000 for the charge.

According to court documents, between April and December 2011, the defendant enticed, promoted and profited from the commercial sex activities of at least four females knowing – or in reckless disregard of the fact – that the females were under 18 years of age.

One incident involved the exchange of text messages between Cramer and a girl. The defendant enticed the girl by telling her she could make much more money performing commercial sex acts than she could by working at a grocery store. Although the girl initially told Cramer she was older than 18, when she informed the defendant that she was 17-years-old, Cramer was undeterred and continued to engage in salacious texting with the female.

Cramer placed advertisements on adult web sites regarding the availability of the minor females for commercial sex acts. The acts took place at hotels in Rochester, Buffalo, N.Y., and in Cramer's residence. Furthermore, customers were charged between $180 and $200 per hour to engage in sexual activities with the minor girls; Cramer received a portion of those proceeds.

"Our office, along with our partners at all levels of government, is aggressively fighting all forms of human trafficking, including the sex trafficking of minors," said U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr., Western District of New York. "Of particular concern is that many victims are being lured over the Internet making them more vulnerable than ever to defendants like Thomas Cramer."

"Few crimes strike at our community the way sex trafficking does," said James C. Spero, special agent in charge of HSI Buffalo. "The sexual exploitation of children and young adults for financial gain demonstrates the extreme greed and depravity of sex traffickers. Our HSI special agents relentlessly pursue sexual predators to rescue their victims."

Assistant U.S. Attorney John E. Rogowski, Western District of New York, is prosecuting this case on behalf of the U.S. government. Sentencing of Cramer is scheduled for June 27, 2013.