St. Croix sex trafficker ordered to reimburse victim services

A 32-year-old man who pleaded guilty to transporting his underage girlfriend to St. Croix to perform sex acts with an older man has been ordered to repay the Justice Department for the assistance he provided to the victim. U.S. Magistrate Emile Henderson III ordered defendant Zavon Acoy to repay $500 to the department’s Victim Services Division.

In July 2021, Zacoy admitted to selling his underage girlfriend to an older man for sex. (picture from source file)

Acoy has been in federal custody since his arrest in November 2018. He pleaded guilty in July 2021 to transporting an individual with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. He faces a 10-year prison term after his conviction. The magistrate has not yet set a hearing date for sentencing. Monday was listed on the district court docket for sentencing, but a restitution hearing was held instead.

Restitution is part of the sentence. Acoy — who was 27 at the time of the offense reported to police and the Department of Homeland Security in 2017 — is to pay as part of his sentencing. Henderson asked prosecutor Everard Potter and defense attorney Yohana Manning to clarify how much Acoy collected from co-defendant James Phillip for handing over his then 17-year-old girlfriend.

Authorities were alerted to a problem when the minor surrendered to police in November 2018 and complained that Acoy – her boyfriend – had strangled her, then explained the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Potter said there were two occasions when Phillip paid the defendant $250 cash to have sex with the victim. Court records include a statement from the minor that she did not receive any part of the cash payments.

Manning confirmed the statement and Henderson ordered Acoy to pay $500.
The money would then be given to victim services to compensate agency employees for the time they spent helping the victim. Manning told the court his client was indigent, having spent the past three and a half years in prison.

The magistrate then ordered Acoy to pay $20 per month, minimum, until the sum was satisfied.

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