A Connecticut man is facing life in prison after being found guilty of sex trafficking minors.
John Durham, the United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut announced the arrest of Hartford resident Toney “Blaze” Kelsey, 26, who was found guilty of trafficking minors at a trial that began last week, on May 15.
According to evidence introduced at the trial, in May 2015, Kelsey recruited a 17-year-old girl to work as a prostitute, with the proceeds from any sexual acts to be split between them. On the day they met, Kelsey engaged in sexual activity with the teen and later posted advertisements on the Backpage and Cityvibe websites, soliciting customers for the minor, and the minor saw prostitution clients at hotels in and around Hartford in May and June 2015. Law enforcement investigators later tracked down the 17-year-old girl.
Kelsey was also found guilty of using his Facebook account to contact a second minor on Facebook in November 2016, asking if the girl “wanted to earn ‘fast money’ giving ‘sexual favors’ to clients,” promising to pay her $300 an hour for her services. Durham said that the minor told Kelsey she was 17 years old, to which he replied, “Cool u old enough.”
Durham said that Kelsey took the teenager to his Hartford home and arranged “missions” - or prostitution appointments - and drove her to said appointments. During that time, Kelsey, his second victim, and two others were injured in a car crash.
The following day, Kelsey drove the minor to a prostitution appointment at the Cityside Inn on the Berlin Turnpike, when a client opted not to engage in sexual activity with the teen due to the scars on her face sustained in the crash.
Investigators said that following that incident, on Nov. 18, 2016, Kelsey left the minor victim and another woman at the Cityside Inn. Wethersfield Police officers later recovered Kelsey’s victim.
This week, Kelsey was found guilty by a jury of one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor and two counts of sex trafficking of minors. Kelsey has been detained since his arrest in Novemeber, 2016. He is due back in New Haven District Court for sentencing on Aug. 14, when he will face a minimum term of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.