CLEVELAND — A Cleveland pastor has been indicted and arrested on two counts of compelling prostitution, both third-degree felonies, for allegedly paying two underage girls to engage in sexual activity in 2018, according to court documents obtained by News 5.
Randolph "Randy" Brown, 64, was arrested Tuesday evening, as well as his co-defendant, 20-year-old Joyce Richmond, by special agents with the Cuyahoga Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, according to court records.
Brown’s true bill indictment accuses of him of, between August and November 2018, knowingly paying or agreeing to pay two female minors, aged 16 and 13 at the time of the incidents, to engage in sexual activity for hire. The 13-year-old minor turned 14 over the course of the alleged incidents, the indictment states.
According to the Ohio Attorney General's Office, "the indictments culminate an investigation into Richmond and her exploitation of three underage teenage girls who had run away from home."
“The allegations in this case are particularly troubling given Mr. Brown’s role as a spiritual leader in the community,” said Homeland Security Special Investigations Special Agent in Charge Vance Callander. “This investigation should however make clear that traffickers will be held accountable, regardless of the positions they occupy.”
Brown's indictment specifically references Ohio Revised Code 2907.21 A(3)(A), which states it is illegal to: “Pay or agree to pay a minor, either directly or through the minor's agent, so that the minor will engage in sexual activity, whether or not the offender knows the age of the minor.”
Richmond, listed as Brown’s co-defendant in court documents, was indicted on two counts of trafficking in persons, first-degree felonies, and three counts of compelling prostitution, third-degree felonies.
The true bill indictment states that Richmond “did knowingly induce, procure, encourage, solicit, request or otherwise facilitate” three female minors – the 16 and 13-year-olds, and a 15-year-old who turned 16 over the course of the incidents – to engage in sexual activity for hire.
Richmond’s charges for trafficking in persons fall under 2905.32 (A)(2)(A), which states:
(A) No person shall knowingly recruit, lure, entice, isolate, harbor, transport, provide, obtain, or maintain, or knowingly attempt to recruit, lure, entice, isolate, harbor, transport, provide, obtain, or maintain, another person if any of the following applies:
(2) The other person is less than sixteen years of age or is a person with a developmental disability whom the offender knows or has reasonable cause to believe is a person with a developmental disability, and either the offender knows that the other person will be subjected to involuntary servitude or the offender's knowing recruitment, luring, enticement, isolation, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, or maintenance of the other person or knowing attempt to recruit, lure, entice, isolate, harbor, transport, provide, obtain, or maintain the other person is for any of the following purposes:
(a) To engage in sexual activity for hire.
The true bill indictment accuses Richmond of trafficking in persons in connection with the 16 and 15-year-olds between March and October of 2018.
“Indictments of coordinated operations like this don’t happen accidently [sic],” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said. “It’s the great work of our task force and partners in law enforcement, as well as Prosecutor O’Malley’s office who will now ensure that these traffickers stay behind bars.”
Brown is currently a pastor at Inner-City Missionary Baptist Church, according to the church’s website. Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church and Enoree Missionary Baptist Church combined to become Inner-City Missionary Baptist Church in 2016.
Brown received his confirmation in May of 2013 with a Doctoral degree in Ministry Confirmation, according to Inner-City Church. He has previously worked as a bible teacher for The City Mission, the church's website states.
The Cuyahoga Regional Human Trafficking Task Force is urging anyone who may be or who may know a victim, or anyone who has information to share regarding Richmond or Brown, to contact them at 216-443-6085.