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Published On: Thu, Feb 21st, 2019

Sex Trafficker, Cornell Devore Rhymes Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison

 A Woodbridge man was sentenced today to 15 years in prison for sex trafficking young women and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Cornell Devore Rhymes, 32, conspired with others, including Justin Robinson and Markus Plummer, who were previously convicted, to force and coerce young women into commercial sex work during the summer of 2017. Over a period of approximately three months, Rhymes and the others recruited young women, including a minor, into commercial sex work. The men advertised the women for sex acts, set their “dates,” and collected and retained the profits. Prior to trial, Rhymes had pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm, after law enforcement discovered a gun in his home during the execution of a search warrant.

Photo/Gerd Altmann

This matter was investigated by the FBI Washington Field Office’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force, which is composed of FBI agents, along with detectives from the Fairfax County Police, Arlington County Police, Prince William County Police, Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, Leesburg Police, Alexandria City Police, Washington Metropolitan Police, Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office, George Mason University Police, United States Marshal’s Service, and agents of various Office of Inspector Generals. This matter was brought to the task force by the Prince William County Police Department.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Matthew J. DeSarno, Special Agent in Charge, Criminal Division, FBI Washington Field Office, Colonel Edwin C. Roessler Jr., Fairfax County Chief of Police, and Barry M. Barnard, Chief of Prince William County Police, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Whitney Dougherty Russell and Raizza Ty prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:18-cr-22. Information about Justin Robinson and Markus Plummer’s cases can be found by searching for Case No. 1:17-cr-310.

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