An Elyria man and Avon Lake woman have been indicted on federal charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy for allegedly forcing young women, including a 16-year-old girl, into prostitution.
Jeremy Mack, 37, and Ashley Onysko, 23, are accused of operating their online prostitution ring out of a Tattersal Court house that was raided by Elyria police in April. Both were facing state and federal charges before the federal indictment was handed down Wednesday.
“Jeremy Mack and Ashley Onysko used narcotics to gain control over their victims and forced them to engage in sex acts while lining their own pockets with money,” FBI Special Agent Stephen Anthony, who runs the FBI’s Cleveland field office, said in a news release.
Mack would allegedly lure the women into his prostitution business by selling them heroin and cocaine and then offering to trade sex for drugs when the women couldn’t afford to pay him. After their drug debts reached a certain point, Mack would tell them that in order to pay him back they would have to engage in prostitution.
Onysko allegedly would create online advertisements for the women on Craigslist.com or Backpage.com. The ads would feature photos of the girls advertising their services for a range of sexual activities.
Onysko had warned the 16-year-old when she first started coming to the now-condemned Tattersal Court house that she would end up being one of Mack’s prostitutes. When the girl was finally photographed and advertised online, Onysko received the first call to hire the girl’s services within hours, according to court documents.
The girl was forced to have sex with several clients over the next day, although she eventually broke down crying when her fourth client showed up, according to the FBI.
Another victim, a 19-year-old woman, told investigators that she was forced to engage in sex with as many as 10 clients in one day to pay off her drug debt while being held against her will at Mack’s house.
Mack allegedly controlled the women at his house through fear and violence, often carrying a gun and a stun gun. He also struck the women and when drugs went missing would perform strip and body cavity searches on the women, according to court documents.
Onysko allegedly managed the books for the prostitution ring, took calls from potential clients, set up the appointments and collected the girls’ earnings when they had finished. Onysko told investigators that she carried heroin with her so that the women could perform properly for clients.
“This pair forced people, including a minor, to have sex for money,” U.S. Attorney for Northern Ohio Steven Dettelbach said in the news release. “These activities happen all around us, and it’s the responsibility of the community and law enforcement to work together to end these crimes.”
Federal authorities have said the women forced into prostitution will not face criminal charges in the case.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or email@example.com.