A Hammond man has
been sentenced to life in federal prison, following his conviction on one
count of sex trafficking a minor, two of transporting a minor for
prostitution, and two of producing child pornography, the U.S. Attorney’s
Office for the Northern District of Indiana said.
Ronnie Cosby, 42,
was sentenced on Monday.
“Mr. Cosby engaged
in horrific acts of sex trafficking involving minors,” U.S. Attorney Thomas
Kirsch II said. “As demonstrated by the conviction and sentence in this
case, such acts carry severe consequences for those who commit them. Sex
trafficking and crimes involving minor victims will never be tolerated. My
office and our law enforcement partners will continue to come after
individuals who commit these horrible crimes to the fullest extent permitted
According to court
documents, between December 2014 and February 2015, Cosby caused two minor
females to engage in prostitution at his apartment in Hammond and other
nearby locations. “Cosby met one victim, a 14-year-old homeless girl, on
Badoo, an online dating website, and within hours began prostituting her out
of his apartment,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. “Cosby met the second
victim, a 15-year-old high school student, through a friend, and within a
day offered her sexual services online to men in exchange for money.”
this second minor victim from Hammond to a hotel in Lansing, Ill., “where he
and another working at his direction kept her under constant surveillance
while arranging for men to come to the hotel to have sex with her,” the U.S.
Attorney’s Office said. “Cosby took sexually explicit images of both minor
victims using his mobile phone and uploaded the images to Backpage.com, a
website he used to offer them up to strangers interested in paying for sex.
Cosby also texted images of both victims to friends and repeat prostitution
customers to drum up additional business.”
In a coordinated
law enforcement operation last month, the Justice Department seized
Backpage.com, the Internet’s leading forum for prostitution ads, including
ads depicting the prostitution of children.
This case was
investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Hammond Police
Department with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and
members of the Northwest Indiana Human Trafficking Working Group.