A Queens Village man who forced a 15-year-old runaway into prostitution and tortured her when she asked to leave was sentenced to up to nine years in prison on Tuesday on a sex trafficking charge.
Christopher Whitfield, 25, of 113th Avenue, pleaded guilty in July. He had been held on $200,000 bail since his arrest in April 2012, according to a statement released on Tuesday by the office of Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
Acting Queens Supreme Court Justice Barry Kron sentenced him to three to nine years in prison.
Brown said the sentence was more than justified.
“[It] sends a clear message to others who traffic in vulnerable and troubled teenage girls, and use them as a commodity to be sold to others for cash, that they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Brown said.
According to the criminal complaint, the victim was told by Whitfield in March 2012 that she was going to make money for him by engaging in prostitution.
Whitfield was accused of posting prostitution advertisements of the girl on the backpage.com website.
“Numerous men” responded to the ads between early March and April 1, with Whitfield forcing her to meet them at hotels and other locations around Queens “on a daily basis.”
The complaint also said that when the victim repeatedly asked to stop, Whitfield threatened to beat her.
On multiple occasions he would burn her with lit cigarettes, leaving scars. He also burned the girl’s leg with a heated razor. She managed to escape when she was left alone.
Brown said under tougher legislation passed in 2007, his office has convicted a dozen defendants on sex-trafficking charges.
He said the law provides social services for the victims ranging from counseling and temporary housing to substance abuse treatment.
The law also will require Whitfield to register as a sex offender.