Five men were arraigned today in Boston Municipal Court on charges that they solicited sex from minors, while a warrant was issued for the arrest of a sixth, Suffolk County prosecutors said today.
Boston police posed as underage girls online and were contacted by each of the defendants Tuesday afternoon and evening. Each agreed to meet the person they believed was a teenage girl at or near a downtown hotel, planning to pay for sex acts, prosecutors said in a statement.
Six men were arrested and face charges of seeking sex for a fee and enticement of a person under 18. The former charge carries a possible one-year sentence in a house of correction, while the latter is a felony punishable by up to five years in state prison, prosecutors said.
Judge Tracy Lee Lyons released on personal recognizance Richard McIver, 46, of Brockton; Ali Houdroge, 46, of Sharon; Michael Feeney, 20, of Quincy; and Michael Paquette, 30, of Somerville.
William Barlow, 40, of Boston was ordered held on $1,000 bail because of a criminal record that included convictions for assault and battery, indecent assault and battery, and criminal harassment. All the defendants were ordered to stay away from the area of their arrest.
Judge Lyons issued an arrest warrant for Robert Anzalone, 44, of Bellingham, who failed to appear for the hearing.
“The Boston Police Human Trafficking Unit is committed to ending exploitation of young people and will continue to be proactive in its efforts to achieve this goal by continuously seeking out and prosecuting those who would engage in such activity,” Boston police said in a statement.
“Reducing human trafficking also means reducing demand,” said District Attorney Daniel F. Conley. “Anyone who considers buying sex – especially from an underage girl or boy – should remember the physical and emotional damage that are part and parcel of commercial sexual exploitation. If that’s not enough, they should also remember that the person on the other end of that email or text message could very well be a Boston Police officer.”
Officers from the Family Justice Unit, Human Trafficking Division, Youth Violence Strike Force and detectives conducted the sting, Boston police said.
Prosecutors said the investigation was similar to a sting conducted by Boston police in August. Five men were arrested for attempting to solicit sex online following that sting, during which officers posed as a 15-year-old girl.