RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Suffolk County man is headed to prison for a decade on sex trafficking charges prosecutors call unthinkable.
He’s accused of keeping women in a sex dungeon under his parents’ roof and in deplorable conditions, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Tuesday.
A mother’s anguish was evident inside the courthouse in Riverhead.
“My daughter is gone. She can’t come back from this,” Stacie Saunders said.
Danielle Saunders of Farmingville died last year of an overdose. Her mother said she fell victim to Raymond Rodio III, who plied her with drugs and coerced her into prostitution, branding her and other victims with cigarette butts.
Stacie Saunders called Rodio a monster.
“She was a beautiful person. She didn’t deserve this,” she said.
Prosecutors say Rodio used his parents’ Sound Beach basement to enslave 20 young women, including Danielle Saunders.
Rodio’s father, who showed CBS2 that basement last year, said he knew nothing about prostitutes at times kept there.
Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini said what started as a routine traffic stop of a victim uncovered a wave of death and destruction.
“What we discovered was horrific, that this defendant had a sex dungeon in his parents’ home and he forced women into sex slavery,” Sini said.
Prosecutors say Rodio advertised online, got victims addicted to drugs to control them, and then pled guilty in the face of overwhelming evidence.
But in court, he had a change of heart. Rodio tried to take back his plea and called the case against him a “travesty of justice,” “absolutely ridiculous,” and “based on statements of people with no credibility.”
He argued with the judge, who called out the 48-year-old’s obvious lack of remorse, and warned he would eject Rodio from the courtroom.
“He is a disgusting person. He doesn’t own up to what he has done and he deserves a lot longer than he got,” Stacie Saunders said.
Sini said the case sends a clear message about the horrors of human trafficking, adding Rodio deserves every second of the 9 1/2-year sentence.
Following release, Rodio will be subject to five more years of supervision.
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