SPRINGFIELD – A Westfield woman is the fourth person to admit playing a role in a sex trafficking ring whose leaders recruited drug-addicted women, took any money they earned and assaulted them if they violated rules.
Jaclyn Lemelin, 35, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking on Tuesday in federal court. U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni scheduled her sentencing for June 15, acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell said in a statement.
Lemelin was charged in December of 2018 of conspiring with William Coleman, who served as a “pimp,” in victimizing multiple women who were coerced to performed sex acts with paying customers, he said.
Coleman was sentenced in September 2020 to 15½ years in prison after pleading guilty to nine counts of sex trafficking and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking.
Virginia Maldonado, 32, and Shannon Yelinek, 36, both of Springfield, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking earlier this month and are scheduled to be sentenced on different days in June.
“Lemelin conspired with Coleman who operated a sex trafficking enterprise that used violence and the drug addictions of female victims to coerce them into engaging in commercial sex acts with paying customers. The victims were typically required to turn over all of their earnings to Coleman and were subject to his tight control over their daily lives. Most of the women were not allowed to keep any of the money they earned, and they were only to obtain the drugs they needed from Coleman,” Mendell said.
Women who did not engage in prostitution or flaunted his rules were assaulted, subjected to sexual violence and had drugs withheld, he said.
Lemelin admitted she was paid by Coleman to assault two victims who were working for him. She also rented cars for Coleman that were used in the trafficking enterprise, Mendell said.
She faces a sentence of up to life in prison, Mendell said.
The crime was investigated by the U.S. attorney’s office with assistance from the Hampden district attorney’s office, Homeland Security Investigations, the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, the FBI, Springfield Police and Massachusetts State Police, he said.