A minister who blessed Gov. Charlie Baker shortly after his election was one of 10 people arraigned Wednesday on charges related to an online prostitution ring.
Ten men in total were arrested Tuesday and charged with paying for sex during an operation conducted by the Boston Police Human Trafficking Unit.
One of those was Archie Livingston Foxworth, known as A. Livingston Foxworth and a senior pastor at Grace Church of All Nations in Dorchester, the Boston Herald reported.
Foxworth gave Gov. Charlie Baker and his wife a blessing in Nov. 2014 during a church service shortly after the governor was elected.
“Gov. Baker is saddened by this news and is confident the courts will examine the facts and reach an appropriate decision,” Lizzy Guyton, a spokesperson for Baker, told reporters. “The Baker-Polito Administration has made combating human trafficking a priority by working across state government to enact anti-trafficking policies and proposing legislation to give law enforcement more tools to crack down on trafficking-related crimes.”
The defendants allegedly responded to online ads posted by detectives posing as prostitutes and negotiated the exchange of money for sexual conduct, according to the DA’s office.
“Human trafficking exists because sex buyers make it profitable,” DA Daniel F. Conley said in a statement. “Part of our strategy is making clear that there are personal, social, and legal consequences for that behavior. If you come into Suffolk County to buy sex, you aren’t just participating in an industry that thrives on exploitation – you’re risking arrest and prosecution.”
In addition to Foxworth, 68, of Hill, the defendants include Murat Inamal, 50, of Brookline; Zian Jiang, 20, of Boston; William Marchant, 54, of Norwood; Eswin Esteban, 39, of Chelsea; James Rose, 59, of Boston; Thomas Holt, 41, of Belmont; and Nikunk Patel, 26, of Revere.
They were released without being held on bail and are due back in court in July. Andrew Kyriacou, 51, of Shrewsbury was also arrested and expected to be arraigned June 6.
The defendants could face a fine between $1,000 and $5,000 and up to two and a half years in a house of correction, according to Massachusetts’ 2011 human trafficking legislation.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect changes in the case.