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Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, April 20, 2024
HomeNewsLocal newsTaxi Driver Pleads Guilty to Transporting Minor for Sex

Taxi Driver Pleads Guilty to Transporting Minor for Sex

Lennox Phillips, 58, pleaded guilty Tuesday in District Court on St. Thomas to one count of transportation of a minor for sex, U.S. Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe announced.

At the conclusion of the hearing, District Court Judge Curtis V. Gomez remanded Phillips into the custody of the United States Marshals Service. Phillips’ sentencing is scheduled for April 7.

As part of his plea, Phillips admitted that he befriended a 13-year-old female while transporting her to and from school in his taxi van. During the course of that activity, Phillips and the minor became involved in a sexual relationship, and Phillips transported the minor to secluded areas where they engaged in sexual activity.

Phillips’ unlawful conduct came to light when an employee at the minor’s school observed Phillips transporting the minor away from the school on numerous occasions when the minor should have been attending school.

“Anyone who targets children for sexual exploitation should consider themselves a target of (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 San Juan and USVI.

“Our special agents will continue using their  investigative authorities to identify, apprehend and prosecute those who, despite all of our efforts, think they can abuse our children and get away with it.”

Phillips faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. He also faces a maximum fine of $250,000.

Sharpe said people who suspect child exploitation or missing children cases should report what they know 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 was investigated by HSI, the Virgin Islands Police Department, and the Virgin Islands Department of Human Services. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Everard E. Potter.

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