Jennifer Bowen-Dodoo, 51, of St. Thomas, made her initial appearance in District Court Friday after being arrested Thursday on charges of sex-trafficking a 13-year-old girl, U.S. Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe reported.
Bowen-Dodoo appeared before District Court Judge Curtis V. Gomez, who remanded her to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending a detention hearing scheduled for Monday.
According to a criminal complaint filed in the District Court, Bowen-Dodoo directed a 13-year-old girl to become involved in a sexual relationship with a 58-year-old adult male, and demanded that the male make monthly deposits into Bowen-Dodoo’s bank account.
In addition to the monthly deposits, Bowen-Dodoo periodically demanded other cash payments in exchange for facilitating the male’s continued access to the minor, according to the complaint.
If convicted, Bowen-Dodoo faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison. She would also face a fine of up to $250,000.
“Adults who target children for sexual exploitation, regardless of their age, should consider themselves targets by HSI (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations) and our law enforcement partners,” said Angel M. Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. “Child exploitation, in all its forms, is a very serious crime and its investigation is a priority for HSI.”
Suspected child exploitation or missing children cases can be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children via its toll-free 24–hour hotline at 202-514-5678, or to HSI at 340-693-2250.
This case is being investigated by HSI, with the assistance of the V.I. Police Department and Human Services. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Everard E. Potter.