Cleveland pastor indicted in human trafficking bust

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CLEVELAND (WJW) -- A Cleveland pastor is facing charges as part of a human trafficking investigation.

Rev. Dr. Randolph Brown, 64, was indicted on two counts of compelling prostitution. Joyce Richmond, 21, was also indicted on two counts of trafficking in persons and three counts of compelling prostitution in the case.

The Ohio Attorney General's Office said Richmond exploited three teen girls who ran away from home. Brown agreed to pay for sex with two of the victims who were 14 and 15 years old at the time of the crimes, according to court documents.

“The allegations in this case are particularly troubling given Mr. Brown’s role as a spiritual leader in the community,” said HSI Special Agent in Charge Vance Callander, in a news release on Wednesday. “This investigation should however make clear that traffickers will be held accountable, regardless of the positions they occupy.” 

The Inner-City Missionary Baptist Church, where Randolph is the pastor, said it has no comment.

Between 2008 and 2016, Rev. Brown served at the City Mission as a bible teacher, a youth ministry manager and a caseworker for the Crossroads Men’s Crisis Center. In a statement attributed to Chief Operating Officer Lina Uveges said, “We did not witness nor receive any reports of inappropriate behavior” and that “a background check was completed on Randy Brown and it was incident-free.”

The statement also said they are, “Shocked and saddened to learn of the indictment” and “our thoughts and prayers are with the children in this tragic situation.”

Anyone who may have been a victim or has additional information on the case should contact the Cuyahoga County Regional Health Trafficking Task Force at 216-443-6085.

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