DA: Defendants Accused Of Enslaving And Raping Teens

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown says two men have been indicted on charges that they forced three teenage girls to work as prostitutes.

The DA said Tuesday that Peter Gerardi of Forest Hills is being held without bail while awaiting a Dec. 19 court appearance. The 28-year-old pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that include kidnapping and rape. Authorities say those alleged victims were 13 and 16.

Prosecutors said Gerardi threatened the 13-year-old girl with violence when she wanted to stop prostituting.

Attorney David Cohen says Gerardi denies all of the allegations and looks forward to resolving them in court.

In a separate case, Christopher Stephensbush, 20, of Richmond Hill was arraigned last month on dozens of charges including kidnapping, rape and sex trafficking. The prosecutor says that the alleged victim – a 15-year-old – was recruited as she changed buses on her way to school.

He is due back in court Feb. 4.

His attorney did not immediately respond to a comment request.

“The defendants are both accused of enslaving three young girls, raping them and forcing them to work as prostitutes. They allegedly forced the girls to turn all of their money over to them. Sex trafficking is a violent and degrading crime that will not be tolerated. These cases will be vigorously prosecuted,” Brown said in a statement.

If convicted, both men face up to 25 years to life in prison.

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