FEATURED PHOTO: RANDOLPH BROWN, REVEREND INNER CITY MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH
NewsWeek.com, By Jason Murdock, Posted March 2nd 2020
An Ohio pastor who previously worked as chaplain for a youth center was arrested this week on suspicion of human trafficking-related crimes, authorities say.
Rev. Randolph “Randy” Brown, 64, and Joyce Richmond, 21, were taken into custody on Tuesday and hit with multiple felony charges in relation to the alleged exploitation of multiple underage teenagers who ran away from home back in 2018, police investigators have confirmed.
Prosecutors allege that Brown paid or agreed to pay two teenage victims, who were aged 16 or under at the time, to engage in sexual activities, News 5 reported.
He was charged with two counts of compelling prostitution, while Richmond was charged with two counts of human trafficking and three counts of compelling prostitution.
Both individuals were swiftly detained after the Cuyahoga County Regional Human Trafficking Task Force secured indictments, said Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.
Online, Brown remains listed as a pastor of the Inner-City Missionary Baptist Church, located on East 55th Street in Cleveland. News outlet WOIO reported the building appeared to have been boarded up this week, as the local community expressed shock at news of the pastor’s arrest.
The church declined to comment when contacted by Newsweek.
According to News 5, which obtained court documents linked to the case, the incidents allegedly involving Brown took place around August and November 2018. The filings accuse Richmond of human trafficking tied to three female minors between March and October of the same year.
“Indictments of coordinated operations like this don’t happen accidentally,” AG Yost said in a media release. “It’s the great work of our task force and partners in law enforcement, as well as [the] prosecutor office who will now ensure that these traffickers stay behind bars.”
The case is currently being spearheaded by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. According to WOIO, Brown and Richmond are both scheduled to be arraigned on March 10.
“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 (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Vance Callander, in a brief statement released this week. “This investigation should however make clear that traffickers will be held accountable, regardless of the positions they occupy.” According to his church biography page, Brown previously served as owner