A 45-year-old Bronx man was sentenced to six to 12 years in prison for forcing an 18-year-old woman into prostitution, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced on Tuesday.
According to Brown’s office, the man, Richard Cabassa, forced the victim to engage in sexual intercourse and oral sex with strangers for money inside an unnamed motel on South Conduit Avenue in Queens. The victim was required to give all of her earnings to Cabassa, and if she made less than $600 per day, Cabassa violently beat her.
The situation occurred from Dec. 1, 2015 to Feb. 14, 2016. It came to light after an incident on Feb. 13. When the young woman made only $200, Cabassa grabbed her by her hair and dragged her down the street outside the motel, repeatedly kicking her in the torso. Motel employees witnessed the incident and intervened. However, Brown said, the violence continued behind closed doors later, when Cabassa struck her with his fists, a lamp and a mirror. Cabassa has been convicted with second-degree promoting prostitution.
“A jury, after weighing all the evidence, convicted the defendant of committing this heinous act,” Brown said. “The defendant through intimidation and violence, forced an 18-year-old teenager into prostitution. He treated this young woman as chattel—a commodity to be sold to others for cash—and then pocketed the money she earned for himself. Prostitution is a degrading and demeaning crime that will not be tolerated in Queens. The defendant will now be incarcerated for his actions.”