Former Hartford Man Sentenced to 10 Years for Sex Trafficking of Minors

Kamar James, a 31-year-old Hartford man who also went by the fake names “Sean Lawson” and “Sean Steppa,” has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for recruiting, encouraging and arranging the prostitution of minors.

Authorities started to investigate when a former victim reported James to authorities in November 2011 after she spent several months in counseling.

Her account was of a man who preyed upon and took advantage of a teen who was in need of someone to confide in.

In December 2012, James was charged with conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor, sex trafficking of a minor, and transportation of a minor for prostitution. On Oct. 9, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release for the sex trafficking of a minor.

The young victim, who was 17 at the time, had been vulnerable and lonely, going through a tough financial time with her family when James approached her on a Hartford street one night as she was waiting for her mom to pick her up from a party, according to federal authorities.

After an initial encounter about a week later, she was brought to his apartment, convinced to drink and inhale his marijuana smoke, and was then sexually assaulted, officials said.

After she was brought home, they communicated mostly via cell phone texts and calls.

The victim told James about her personal troubles at home and at school, and eventually came to feel that they were “dating” but James was grooming her toward prostitution, according to court documents.

Officials said several Craigslist ads offering the victim for prostitution were posted online and the victim began to make frequent trips with James to New York City under James’ promise to her that the money would go, among other things, “to take care of (the victim’s) mother, buy a house, and get married.”

James further victimized the young girl on several occasions and she finally “broke up” with him several months later, refusing to see or speak to him, according to documents released by the U.S. Department of Justice.

When the Hartford Police Department and the FBI visited James’ address in Brooklyn, New York they learned he was an undocumented immigrant from Jamaica who had a counterfeit I.D.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement became involved and took James into custody in February.

During their initial questioning of James he denied knowing who the victim was at all. Eventually he admitted that he knew who she was, but continued to deny having had sex with her, according to court documents.

However, photos found on James’ microSD card provided thorough evidence of his “relationship” with the victim, along with text conversations and photos from the victim’s cell phone.

James pleaded guilty to one count of sex trafficking to a minor earlier this month and has been ordered to pay $12,750 in restitution to the minor.

Because James is an undocumented immigrant, his imprisonment sentence will not be served in a lower security level facility but instead in a Federal Correction Institution.

After serving his sentence, James will be deported with no rehabilitation required.


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