Trucker Accused of Keeping Sex Slaves24-Mar-2014
A man has been charged with federal crimes after he was accused of holding hostage two women, one of them a 19-year-old relative, and keeping them as sex slaves.
Timothy Jay Vafeades, 54, is charged with kidnapping, transportation for illegal sexual activity, and possession of child pornography. He faces up to life in prison.
Vafeades was first arrested at a weigh station last fall when police noticed that a young woman with him had bruises. Upon investigation, they discovered that a victim protective order had been filed against Vafeades in 1999 that barred him from contact with the girl, who would have been 4-years-old at the time of the order.
When investigators interviewed the 19-year-old, she told them that she had willingly left home to help Vafeades on his truck, but that she told him she wanted to leave after only a week. She says the man refused to let her go, choking her until she blacked out and holding her captive for the next six months through threats and violence.
The victim told police that he filed down her teeth and made her wear a set of false teeth to alter her appearance, and that he raped her at least 100 times during her captivity.
After Vafeades was arrested, another woman came forward, saying that the trucker held her hostage for three months in 2012. She said she agreed to have dinner with the man, but within minutes of her getting into the truck, Vafeades told her that he was not going to let her go "for a week or more." She says that he called her his slave, repeatedly raped her, and forced her to cut and color her hair to conceal her identity.
In general, kidnapping is prosecuted as a state crime, but when it involves the transportation of a person across state lines, it becomes a federal offense under 18 USC 1201:
"(a) Whoever unlawfully seizes, confines, inveigles, decoys, kidnaps, abducts, or carries away and holds for ransom or reward or otherwise any person, except in the case of a minor by the parent thereof, when—
(1) the person is willfully transported in interstate or foreign commerce, regardless of whether the person was alive when transported across a State boundary, or the offender travels in interstate or foreign commerce or uses the mail or any means, facility, or instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce in committing or in furtherance of the commission of the offense . . .
shall be punished by imprisonment for any term of years or for life and, if the death of any person results, shall be punished by death or life imprisonment."
It does not matter if the victim initially went willingly with the defendant, if he or she was ultimately held against his or her will.
Transportation for illegal sexual activity is defined in 18 USC 2421 as follows:
"Whoever knowingly transports any individual in interstate or foreign commerce, or in any Territory or Possession of the United States, with intent that such individual engage in prostitution, or in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both."
In general, a federal conviction of possession of child pornography is punishable by 5 to 20 years in prison, but penalties may be enhanced for repeat offenses and other aggravating circumstances.
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