3 men, including Greyhound mechanic, arrested for sex trafficking ring at Port Authority Bus Terminal

Port Authority
Photo credit Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — Three men, including a Greyhound bus mechanic, were arrested for running a sex trafficking ring that targeted women at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.

Paul Middleton, a 49-year-old mechanic at Port Authority lured a 35-year-old woman who couldn’t afford a bus ticket into an employee-only area and asked if she needed a place to stay on Jan. 29, according to prosecutors.

In the employee-only area, he allegedly took nude semi-nude pictures of her, groped her and offered to pay for sex before contacting Louis Austin, 51.

Austin contacted Christopher Witherspoon, 38, who brought the woman to his apartment at the NYCHA Rangel Houses complex in Washington Heights, officials said.

At the apartment Witherspoon allegedly sexually assaulted the woman and used violence and threats to force her to have sex with other men for money.

Over the course of the next 12 days, Witherspoon kept the money she made, refused to let her contact her children and forced her to marry a stranger for immigration papers, according to authorities.

The victim reportedly fled and called the police after a beating on Feb. 9.

Witherspoon was arrested the next day for assault after police allegedly saw him lunge at a woman in the hallway of his apartment building. Officers allegedly found three guns in his apartment after his arrest.

All three men face charges for sex trafficking, promoting prostitution and conspiracy. Witherspoon was also hit with weapons and assault charges.

“This indictment alleges a highly coordinated operation, with three men conspiring to target a vulnerable woman with nowhere to stay and using brutal force to force her to perform sexual acts,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. “While midtown transit hubs are all too often the recruitment sites for such operations, this Greyhound employee had unique access, as we allege, to target vulnerable women. Because of this, we have reason to believe there may be more survivors of this operation.”

Featured Image Photo Credit: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images