(Cleveland) - An Elyria man was sentenced to life in prison after forcing four females, including a 16-year-old girl, to have sex for money, law enforcement officials said.
Jeremy Mack, 38, of Elyria, was found guilty by a jury in February on nine counts, including human trafficking, drug crimes and obstruction of justice following a trial before U.S. District Court Judge Sara Lioi.
“Jeremy Mack preyed upon vulnerable women and held them in conditions akin to modern-day slavery,” said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.
Dettlebach told Newsradio WTAM 1100, “His conduct was offensive to everything this community and this country stand for, but his victims persevered, survived and exposed his twisted world of forced sex, violence and drug trafficking. Jeremy Mack earned every day of this sentence.”
“Preying on, coercing and forcing children into a world of drugs and sex is simply despicable and will not be tolerated,” said Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cleveland office. “This sentence clearly demonstrates that law enforcement and the courts will work together to ensure those responsible for such horrific crimes pay for their actions.
“This is an example of local police and federal law enforcement working together to make our community safer,” Elyria Police Chief Duane Whitely said.
Ashley Onysko, 24, of Avon Lake, previously pleaded guilty to charges related to her role in the conspiracy. She is was sentenced to 30 months in prison on June 11.
Between December 2012 and April 9, 2013, Mack and Onysko conspired together to provide heroin or cocaine to four females and then, after the victims incurred drug debts, used force, threats of force, fraud and coercion to compel them to engage in commercial sex acts.
They did this, in part, by posting photographs of the females on backpage.com on a user account that Mack and Onysko created, according to the indictment.
In March 2013, Victim 2, a 16-year-old minor, went to Mack’s residence in Elyria after school, at which time Mack gave her cocaine. Mack later told and caused others to tell Victim 2 that she needed to engage in commercial sex acts. She did, after which she turned over all proceeds to Mack, according to the indictment.
From March through April 9, 2013, Mack brandished a firearm in front of three of the females. He choked and threatened to kill one of the female victims, according to the indictment.
Count 1 charged Mack with conspiring with Onysko to force the four victims to engage in commercial sex acts by using force, threats of force, fraud and coercion
Counts 2 through 5 charged Mack with forcing each of the four victims to engage in commercial sex acts by using force, threats of force, fraud and coercion.
Count 6 and 7 charged Mack with distribution of heroin and cocaine, respectively.
Count 8 and 9 charged Mack with obstruction of justice. Count 8 charged Mack with advising his son, identified only as T.L., to “stick with the script” when testifying before the Federal Grand Jury.
Count 9 charged Mack with providing money to Onysko in May 2013 to purchase personal items for Victim 4 and to advise the victim not to “flip”. He also told the victim not to speak with FBI agents attempting to contact her and advising her not to make incriminating statements against Mack, according to the indictment.
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.
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