TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a Burlington County, N.J., man pleaded guilty today to forcing a 17-year-old girl to engage in prostitution at area motels for his profit. He and his girlfriend, who previously pleaded guilty, posted nude photos of the victim on Backpage.com advertising her services as an “escort.”
Christopher K. White, 20, of Eastampton, pleaded guilty today to charges of first-degree promoting prostitution of a minor and second-degree facilitation of human trafficking before Superior Court Judge Jeanne T. Covert in Burlington County. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that White be sentenced to 13 years in state prison, including five years of parole ineligibility. He will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and will be subject to parole supervision for life. He also will be required to pay fines of $25,000 and $15,000, respectively, on the two charges, with the funds to go to the state’s Human Trafficking Survivors Assistance Fund.
White’s girlfriend, Adria Regn, 28, of Mount Holly, pleaded guilty last year to a charge of second-degree conspiracy to facilitate human trafficking. The state will recommend that she be sentenced to five years in prison. White is scheduled to be sentenced on April 6, and Regn, on April 13.
Deputy Attorney General Cassandra Montalto prosecuted the defendants and took the guilty pleas for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau, Human Trafficking Unit. The Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, Sexual Assault/Child Abuse Unit, initiated and led the investigation, with assistance from the New Jersey State Police, Pemberton Township Police Department, Division of Criminal Justice and Mount Holly Police.
“White brutally exploited his young victim – threatening her with violence, ordering her to take drugs, and forcing her to engage in sexual activity with five or more men a day,” said Attorney General Grewal. “This guilty plea ensures that he will serve a lengthy prison sentence for the terrible harm he inflicted on a very vulnerable girl. These investigations are a top priority. Our goal is to rescue victims of human trafficking and bring those responsible to justice.”
“Our Human Trafficking Unit will continue to work with law enforcement partners throughout the state to rescue victims of human trafficking and ensure that those responsible for these deplorable crimes are aggressively prosecuted,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We urge anyone who sees a child or teenager in suspicious circumstances to call our confidential human trafficking hotline.”
“I am thankful that these defendants have been held accountable for their depraved actions,” Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said. “We look forward to continuing to work the Attorney General’s Office and our law enforcement partners to rescue victims of human trafficking and prosecute those who commit these horrible crimes.”
The investigation began after the victim reported that she was forced by White and his girlfriend, Regn, to work as a prostitute for a period of 10 days in October 2016 at various motels where they lived in Burlington County. Regn has two young children, and the victim, who knew White, went to the first motel believing she would be babysitting the children. Instead, White and Regn gave her drugs, including crystal methamphetamine and marijuana, and told her that she needed to work as an “escort” for them so that they could make money. They said that if she did not work for them, it would be her fault if Regn’s children ended up on the street. The victim reported that White threatened to beat her if she did not take crystal meth, and he also threatened to find her and beat her if she did not continue to work for them as a prostitute.
White and Regn placed a number of ads on Backpage.com with photos of the victim in various states of undress, including completely nude, advertising the girl’s services as an escort. The investigation revealed that White and Regn, who would stay in the same room as the victim or an adjoining room, would arrange for clients to meet the victim for sex. They collected all of the money paid by the clients. The victim did not receive money. During a three- or four-day stay at a motel in Wrightstown, White and Regn made the victim have sex with at least five men each day. The victim ultimately fled while White and Regn were asleep.
Deputy Attorney General Cassandra Montalto prosecuted the case for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau, Human Trafficking Unit. Attorney General Grewal commended all of the detectives and officers who worked on the investigation for the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office Sexual Assault/Child Abuse Unit, New Jersey State Police, Pemberton Township Police Department, Division of Criminal Justice and Mount Holly Police Department. Detective Matthew Delgado was lead detective on the case for the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office.
Attorney General Grewal and Director Honig urged anyone who suspects human trafficking to report it by calling the Division of Criminal Justice’s Human Trafficking Hotline 1-855-END-NJ-HT.