Sidney McGee, left, and Tyshaun McGhee, right, were convicted of trafficking a person for sexual servitude. Credit: Suffolk district attorney's office
Saying that they used women as "property," a judge sentenced a pair of Roxbury men, believed to be the first in the state convicted of the new human trafficking law, to at least 10 years in jail.
A Suffolk Superior Court judge on Monday sentenced Tyshaun McGhee, 33, to between 10 and 15 years in jail and Sidney McGee, 30, to between 10 and 12 years in jail.
"They essentially treated these women as property to be sold for money," said the judge.
After a five-day trial and about two days of deliberations, a jury found the men guilty last week of three counts each of trafficking a person for sexual servitude. McGhee was also convicted of two counts of deriving support from prostitution. They jury acquitted them on counts of aggravated rape. A Suffolk district attorney's office spokesman said they believe the men are the first to be convicted under the law.
During the trial, two of the women testified against the men. One of them submitted a victim impact statement to be read during Monday's sentencing.
"When I was first victimized, my self-esteem and self wroth were crushed. I felt hopeless and lost," the woman wrote in her statement. "Since this crime has occurred, I have not been able to maintain an intimate relationship with another male due to flashbacks and physical trauma. I have had a hard time this past year maintaining my sobertiey becuase I have not wanted to deal and face what happened."
Prosecutors said the men recruited drug-addicted women in September 2012, supplied them with narcotics and promises of wealth and then coerced them into sexual activity with men who responded to online advertisements. One of the women, who was 24 at the time, said that the men approached her outside of a Boston hospital, supplied her with crack cocaine and took her to McGhee's home where they posed her in lingerie and took pictures of her that they posted online. A second woman, who was 28 at the time, said she was approached outside a methadone clinic and that the men did the same thing to her as they did to the first victim.
While being driven back to Boston from a Peabody hotel, the two women escaped from the car and ran to Boston Medical Center where they told authorities about the incident.
Both defense attorney's argued that the judge should sentence the men to five years in jail, the mandatory minimum. They both said that since their arrest, both men have been reading the bible and studying religion in jail.
McGhee said "I love you" to family members who were in the courtroom as he was led away in handcuffs.
McGee's attorney said he would be filing an appeal.
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer OKeeffe requested that each man serve between 15 and 21 years and called the men's actions "despicable."
Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley, who for years has made it policy that his office not prosecute prostituted youth, said the case was far from a victimless crime.
"These women were homeless, drug-dependent and vulnerable. The defendants ruthlessly exploited them through prostitution. This case is a perfect example of why we fought so hard for a human trafficking statute in Massachusetts, and why our enforcement efforts today target pimps and johns," Conely said in a statement.