By Mehgaan Jones
A College Park man was sentenced to 17 years in federal prison on charges of coercion and enticement of minors to engage in sexual activity, according to a written statement issued by the United States Attorney's Office of the Northern District of Georgia.
Christopher Pressley, 27, was sentenced, on Monday, by U.S. District Judge Richard W. Story. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Zahra S. Karinshak, according to the press statement.
U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said: "This defendant was exploiting underage girls and literally selling them on the Internet as adult prostitutes. This kind of criminal exploitation robs our children of their innocence and poisons our community."
Pressley's prison sentence will be followed by five years of supervised release, according to the statement. He will be ordered to undergo drug, alcohol and sexual rehabilitation.
He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $60,400 to the victims. Pressley pled guilty to the charges on June 10.
According to Yates, on Feb. 20, 2009, the Metro Atlanta Child Exploitation Task Force (MATCH) established an undercover operation at a hotel in the Northern District of Georgia, for the purpose of rescuing minors being coerced into prostitution. She explained that an undercover officer made a date for sex with a girl, based upon her advertisement found in the erotic services section of www. craigslist.com.
"The girl, advertised as "Mya" and 19, who appeared naked in the advertisement, looked underage," said Yates. "Upon arriving at the hotel, "Mya" met with the undercover agent, made an offer of prostitution services, and was arrested," she added.
Investigators identified "Mya" as a 16-year-old child. Yates added that the advertisement had been placed by another individual at the direction of Pressley. "Pressley knew that 'Mya" was a minor, having known the child since she was 15 years old," said Yates.
Prior to the February 2009 incident, Atlanta Police were called to Grady Memorial Hospital, in Atlanta, regarding a 17-year-old female, who had come to the hospital for treatment, according to the written statement. The U.S. Attorney's office said that the investigation into the erotic services section of www.craigslist.com, later turned up a photograph of this minor posting sexual services, in Atlanta, and it was connected to Pressley.
The advisory said that this case is a part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative. In June 2003, the Attorney General, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) launched the initiative to address the growing problem of domestic sex trafficking of children in the U.S., according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The case against Pressley was investigated by the MATCH Task Force, which is comprised of officers and special agents of the FBI, the Atlanta Police Department, the Gwinnett County Police Department, the Sandy Springs Police Department, and the Marietta Police Department.
Brian D. Lamkin, Special Agent in Charge, FBI of Atlanta, said that, "The exploitation of other human beings through threats and intimidation is despicable in its own right, but when the victims are minors, the predators have taken their crimes to a new level of depravity.
"While the criminals are increasingly utilizing the cyber arena in furtherance of these crimes, to include those that would exploit or prey on our community's children, so, too, is the law enforcement community in identifying, investigating, and prosecuting these individuals."