Man gets 18 years in sex trafficking case

October 14, 2018


HUNTINGTON — A Huntington man will serve nearly two decades in federal prison in a sex trafficking case opened last year after police suspected he was having a sexual relationship with a missing 16-year-old girl from Chicago.

David Ray Pelfrey, 40, was sentenced Friday to serve 18 years in federal prison after having previously pleaded guilty to two counts of production of child pornography. He must also serve 10 years of federal super vised release and register as a sex offender after the completion of his prison term.

According to U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart, Pelfrey admitted that on May 20, 2017, he took a sexually explicit photograph of a 16-year-old girl and that on June 1, 2017, he took a video depicting himself engaged in sexually explicit conduct with the same minor female, according to a news release from Stuart. Pelfrey also admitted that he possessed at least one sexually explicit image of another minor female on his cellphone.

According to an affidavit filed in federal court by Huntington police after Pelfrey’s arrest, the Federal Bureau of Investigation branch office in Charleston received a tip June 5, 2017, alleging a 16-year-old girl from Chicago, who was reported missing in May, was being trafficked and sold for sex by Pelfrey.

The two lived together at Pelfrey’s home in the 900 block of 18th Street West, the tip alleged.

Police went to the home and were positioned such as to be able to see a female through a window putting on underwear as police approached the home and knocked on the door, which Pelfrey eventually opened.

Pelfrey allegedly said he had just met the girl at a bar the previous night and allowed police to enter the home to look for the girl. The girl confirmed she was the missing teen and was removed from the home. While being forensically interviewed, the girl said she met Pelfrey in sexual-based chatrooms, which Pelfrey allegedly also later admitted, according to the complaint.

After a few conversations, the girl came to Huntington to stay with Pelfrey, she told police. Pelfrey denied he went to Chicago to pick her up. Instead, he told police she was dropped off at his home by three men two weeks prior to his arrest.

According to the criminal complaint, the victim allegedly then began “selling herself to other men for sexual encounters,” complaints state, from which Pelfrey profited.

Pelfrey alleged he believed the girl was 18.

A search warrant for Pelfrey’s home was obtained and electronic media was seized, along with cellphones. Sexually explicit images and videos of the minor were found on Pelfrey’s phone, including a video shot June 1 of what appears to be sexual intercourse with the girl.

Pelfrey had originally been charged in state court for the crime, but it later became a federal case.

Follow reporter Courtney Hessler at Facebook.com/CHesslerHD and via Twitter @HesslerHD.

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