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Taxi Driver Who Had Sex With 13-Year-Old Girl Could Get 10 Years In Prison

curtis gomez
U.S. District Court Judge Curtis Gomez

CHARLOTTE AMALIE – A 58-year-old St. Thomas man pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court Tuesday to one count of transportation of a minor for sex, U.S. Attorney Ronald Sharpe said.

At the conclusion of the hearing, District Court Judge Curtis Gomez remanded Lennox Phillips into the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. Phillips’ sentencing is scheduled for April 7, 2016.

As part of his plea, Phillips admitted that he befriended a 13-year-old female while transporting her to and from school in his taxi van. During the course of that activity, Phillips and the minor became involved in a sexual relationship, and Phillips transported the minor to secluded areas where they engaged in sexual activity.

Phillips’ unlawful conduct came to light when an employee at the minor’s school observed Phillips transporting the minor away from the school on numerous occasions when the minor should have been attending school.

“Anyone who targets children for sexual exploitation should consider themselves a target of HSI and our law enforcement partners,” said Angel M. Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI San Juan and USVI. “Our special agents will continue using their investigative authorities to identify, apprehend and prosecute those who, despite all of our efforts, think they can abuse our children and get away with it.”

Phillips faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. He also faces a maximum fine of $250,000.

Suspected child exploitation or missing children cases should be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children via its toll-free 24-hour hotline at 202-514-5678, or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) at (340) 693-2250.

The case was investigated by HSI, the Virgin Islands Police Department, and the Virgin Islands Department of Human Services.

It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Everard Potter.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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