John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that a federal jury in New Haven today found TONEY KELSEY, also known as “Blaze,” 26, of Hartford, guilty of sex trafficking of minors. The trial before Chief U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall began on May 15.
According to the evidence at trial, in late May 2015, KELSEY recruited a 17-year-old female to work in prostitution with the profits to be split evenly between them. On the day they met, KELSEY engaged in sexual activity with the minor victim. KELSEY posted advertisements on the Backpage and Cityvibe websites soliciting customers for the minor victim, and the minor victim saw prostitution clients at hotels in the greater Hartford area in May and June 2015. The minor victim was then recovered by law enforcement.
In November 2016, KELSEY used his Facebook account to contact a second minor victim, who was 15 years old at the time. KELSEY asked the minor victim if she wanted to earn “fast money” giving “sexual favors” to clients and promised the minor victim $300 per hour. The minor victim represented that she was 17 years old and KELSEY responded “Cool u old enough.” KELSEY picked up the minor victim at her house and took her to his Hartford residence. From there, KELSEY arranged “missions,” or prostitution appointments, for the minor victim, and KELSEY drove her to the appointments. During this time, KELSEY, the minor victim and two other individuals were involved in a car accident. The next day, KELSEY had arranged prostitution appointments for the minor victim at the Cityside Inn on the Berlin Turnpike in Wethersfield. At the motel, one prospective client arranged by KELSEY decided not to engage in sexual activity with the minor victim because of the scars on her face sustained during the car accident.
On the morning of November 18, 2016, KELSEY left the minor victim and another female at the Cityside Inn. Wethersfield Police recovered the minor victim near the motel.
The jury found KELSEY guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor and two counts of sex trafficking of minors.
During the trial, the jury also heard evidence of a third minor victim, a 17-year-old girl that KELSEY contacted through a social media application in May 2016. KELSEY posted a photograph of the minor victim on Backpage, where he solicited prostitution clients for her. He then drove the minor victim to two prostitution appointments.
KELSEY has been detained since his arrest by Wethersfield Police on related state charges on November 30, 2016.
Chief Judge Hall scheduled sentencing for August 14, 2018, at which time KELSEY faces a minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum term of life imprisonment.
This investigation has been conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Connecticut State Police, Homeland Security Investigations, Wethersfield Police Department and Hartford Police Department, through the Connecticut Human Trafficking Task Force. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarala V. Nagala and Marc H. Silverman.