Alleged pimp indicted on endangerment charge
BRENTWOOD — A Massachusetts man is facing charges that he was pimping a 15-year-old girl at a Salem motel and had solicited men for sex on her behalf through ads on the Internet, according to prosecutors.
A grand jury indicted Andy Pena, 19, on five charges including witness tampering, endangering the welfare of a child and reckless conduct. Pena, of Jamacia Plain, Mass., was being held at the Rockingham County jail pending his next hearing in Rockingham County Superior Court.
Salem police located the girl and another man allegedly working with Pena on Feb. 3 after receiving a tip from Boston police.
The girl had been a runaway from the Greater Boston area since November, prosecutors said.
Police learned that the girl was being advertised on Backpage.com as a 19-year-old named “Emily” under the female escort section, according to an affidavit by Salem police Detective Brendan Gleason.
A detective working undercover posed as a potential customer to meet up with the youth and exchanged several text messages with her prior to setting up a meeting at a hotel room, records show.
Police and special agents with Homeland Security went to the hotel room and used a key to enter the room after knocking for aboout two minutes without a response, police said.
One of the officers could feel a draft run through the room and realized a window was open, according to prosecutors.
Pena allegedly dropped a Hi-Point handgun from the fourth floor window, causing it to break into pieces. Before being taken out of the hotel room, Pena allegedly told the girl not to tell police anything.
The girl, who identified Pena as her boyfriend, told police that she saw five to six clients per day, according to police.
“She told us Pena did not have a job so all of his money comes from her,” Gleason said in the affidavit.
The witness tampering and child endangerment charges are Class B felonies, punishable by up to 3 ½ to 7 years in state prison.