A man and woman from Lorain County were charged with human trafficking crimes after forcing a 16-year-old girl and 19-year-old woman to have sex for money, said Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland office, and Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.
Jeremy Mack, 37, of Elyria, and Ashley Onysko, 23, of Avon Lake, were charged with two counts of sex trafficking (one involving a minor) in a criminal complaint unsealed today in U.S. District Court.
“Human trafficking often happens in plain sight,” Anthony said. “The FBI, our law enforcement partners, along with the assistance of vigilant citizens will continue efforts to tackle this problem.”
“These defendants are accused of preying on teens in our community,” Dettelbach said. “We will work to get help for the victims and bring the accused to justice.”
Mack and Onysko were arrested April 9, 2013 at 8 Tattersal Court in Elyria. Onysko told investigators that she worked for Mack facilitating meetings for sex between girls and men. She posted advertisements on backpage.com and craigslist.com, according to an affidavit filed in the case.
One victim, identified as “Jane Doe #1” was 19 and was forced to have sex for money in order to pay off a drug debt to Mack. Jane Doe #1 said several girls lived at 8 Tattersal Court and were forced by Mack to prostitute themselves in order to pay off their drug debts to him, according to the affidavit.
Jane Doe #1 began seeing several men a day charged to engage in sexual acts with them. Mack or Onysko drove Jane Doe #1 to the appointments but she had to turn all the money over directly to Mack, according to the affidavit.
Jane Doe #1 stated that if she kept any money, she believed Mack would “beat the living crap out of me.” She witnessed him push, hit and choke other girls and said Mack often carried a handgun and stun gun, according to the affidavit.
Another victim, identified as Jane Doe #2, met Mack through Mack’s son in March 2013.
Jane Doe #2 noticed that the other girls were afraid of Mack and didn’t seem allowed to leave the house except to meet clients, according to the affidavit.
On March 29, 2013, Mack instructed Jane Doe #2 to get fixed up and instructed other girls to take photos of her for backpage.com. Jane Doe #2 said she didn’t want to be a prostitute but did so because Mack was “a guy with a gun who knew where I lived,” according to the affidavit.
Onysko soon received a call for an appointment with Jane Doe #2. Onysko arranged the meeting and provided Jane Doe #2 with condoms. She gave all the money to Mack. Jane Doe #2 left the house on Tattersal after her parents discovered her photographs on backpage.com, according to the affidavit.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Bridget M. Brennan and Carole Skutnik following an investigation by the FBI and Elyria Police Department.
A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. All defendants are presumed innocent of the charges until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.