Federal prosecutors announced charges Monday against a District man and woman arrested this summer in connection with an alleged sex trafficking ring that authorities say involved several underage girls who were forced to work out of an apartment in Southeast Washington.
Daraya Marshall, 35, and Jarnese Harris, 29, appeared Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Harvey under a 10-count indictment filed Friday that included five counts against each of child sex trafficking and coercion of minor females. The charges carry a statutory maximum of life in prison.
Marshall also was charged by the federal grand jury with five counts of first-degree child sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and pornography.
Both defendants, described in court filings as a couple, were arrested and appeared in D.C. Superior Court earlier this year after police complaints filed with that court said the mother of a 14-year-old girl went to police in May and stated that up to six or seven girls at a time were working as prostitutes out of an apartment in the 3800 block of South Capitol Street SE.
A subsequent police complaint filed in court cited at least one other underage victim alleging illegal conduct dating to June 2014. The indictment charged that two other underage victims have alleged illegal conduct dating back to June 2014.
The case now will be prosecuted in federal court. Both defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges and were ordered held pending a hearing set for Sept. 30.
Harris’s attorney, Mark John Carroll, declined to comment after Monday’s court appearance. Marshall is represented by David Bos, of the Federal Defender’s Office, who declined to comment on the case.