Albany Medical Center nurse admits role in sex trafficking ring

ALBANY — A registered nurse from Albany was sued Wednesday in U.S. District Court for aiding a boyfriend who runs a sex-trafficking ring in multiple states that officials said preyed on minor victims. pleaded guilty.

Ashley L. McCloskey, 38, a nurse at Albany Medical Center Hospital with no criminal record, admitted to helping Christopher Thomas. Christopher Thomas was a colony pimp and pimp who allegedly directed the prostitution business from inside the Albany County prison. From 2019 to May 8, 2020. McCloskey pleaded guilty to his one count of using interstate commerce to facilitate illegal activity. In this case, it was identified as suspected sex trafficking of Thomas.

Thomas, 39, known as “OMG,” will face 16 indictments including child sex trafficking, child sexual exploitation, coercion and coercion before U.S. District Judge Mae D’Agostino later this month. will be prosecuted for Seduction, conspiracy-related sex trafficking and prostitution charges, witness tampering and distribution of child pornography. Janelle Grady, 26, known as “Nelly”, who played a supervisory role in the ring, was charged in January with transport charges for illegal sexual activity and complicity in child sex trafficking. pleaded guilty to

According to federal prosecutors in Albany, McCloskey faces up to five years in prison in his July 7 sentencing, but the expected range of punishment under federal sentencing guidelines is 18 to 24 months. rice field.

Under the plea bargain, McCloskey was allowed to run online ads recruiting workers for the sex trafficking and prostitution business, including an ad showing a naked 16-year-old girl on August 1, 2019. , admitted that he allowed Thomas to use his Internet connection. McCloskey didn’t know the sex workers were underage.

She admitted to allowing the use of her cell phone and Chrysler 300 sedan. She also rented a car for their use, the plea deal said.

And McCloskey withdrew $10,000 from the bank to use in a photo ad of Thomas inserting cash into an ATM machine on May 23, 2019. All of this implies that Thomas is in a lucrative business, Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachel Williams told the judge.

On December 21, 2019, while Thomas was in prison for parole violations, prosecutors told McCloskey that Grady had more work to do because Grady was Thomas’ “least” or senior assistant in the ring on suspicion. She also gave Thomas an update on Grady’s unsuccessful attempts to recruit sex workers.

McCloskey admitted to telling Grady in February 2020 to pick up sex workers in Springfield, Massachusetts, in Albany.

“Defendants regularly called and texted Thomas and Grady regarding the business and provided Chrysler to them to facilitate the promotion, administration, establishment and continuation of the business,” Williams said while reading the plea deal. Stated.

After detailing the crimes in the plea bargain, the judge asked McCloskey, “Is that what you did, and what happened in this case?”

“Yes,” she replied.

Thomas, who was indicted in May 2020, is accused of sex trafficking seven teenage victims.

Prosecutors said Thomas brought two minor victims from Vermont to New York to engage in prostitution, and admitted to trafficking a 17-year-old woman. Said he targeted sexually active girls he didn’t care about. Prosecutors say the recorded phone calls show Thomas violently telling her if Grady doesn’t follow him, “You take my bread bitch and I’m going to kill you.” He said he showed threats.

McCloskey’s attorney, Nicholas Evanovich, contacted by The Times and Union, described McCloskey as a victim.

“When Ms. McCloskey was dating Chris Thomas, he eventually helped him get engaged when he realized she fully believed it was adult prostitution,” the attorney said. I got

“She today accepted responsibility for decisions such as allowing her to use her car and the internet,” Evanovich said. “It was a terrible decision and she accepted the responsibility.” For the sake of clarity, all parties agree that she had no knowledge of Thomas’ involvement with a minor. It never would have been. It’s not an excuse for her role, but it’s a crucial fact for her situation.”

McCloskey is free under conditions set by the judge.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated McCloskey’s home municipality.

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