Burlington couple trapped teen into prostitution, drugs, say NJ investigators
Enslavement of a 17-year-old girl into drug-addled prostitution will cost a Burlington County man and his girlfriend at least 20 years in prison - maybe their lifetimes - if they're convicted of the most severe of several charges at trial.
New Jersey investigators filed human trafficking and prostitution-related charges against Christopher K. White, 19, of Eastampton, and Adria Regn, 27, of Mount Holly, according to the office of state Attorney General Christoper Porrino.
White was apprehended May 22, and Regn's arrest took place May 25, both by Mount Holly police. Both are being held in the Burlington County Jail. The case will go to a grand jury for possible indictment. Investigators said that Regn's two young children were used as part of the ruse to entrap the teen.
Investigators allege that White and Regn forced the teen to turn tricks at various motels in the region, drummed up business by posting nude images of her on Backpage.com, offering "escort" services, and forced her to snort crystal methamphetamine with them while turning herself over to others for sex.
The probe was begun by the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit. Investigation broaded with the involvement of Pemberton, Mount Holly and New Jersey State Police.
Authorities said that the victim, an acquaintance of White, reported being forced into prostitution by the couple for 10 days in October 2016, at various Burlington County motels. She ultimately escaped while they slept, authorities said.
The victim allegedly initially visited the motel under the impression that she would be babysitting Regn's children. Instead, investigators said, they plied her with crystal meth and marijuana, and coerced her into working as a hooker to help them get money.
They allegedly told the teen that the youngsters would end up on the street if she didn't cooperate. Later, White allegedly told her that if she didn't continue, he'd find her and beat her.
Investigators said that the couple placed "a number of ads" on Backpage.com, promoting the teen as an "escort," and displaying her in various stages of undress, including no clothes at all.
White and Regn stayed either in the same motel room or an adjoining one, and collected all the payments, authorities said, citing one instance in Wrightstown in which they allegedly arranged sexual encounters with at least five men each day, for three or four consecutive days.
White is charged with first-degree counts of human trafficking of a minor, human trafficking by receiving money for organizing or managing a scheme of human trafficking, human trafficking by providing a controlled dangerous substance, and promoting prostitution of a minor.
Regan faces first-degree charges of human trafficking of a minor, conspiracy to commit human trafficking of a minor, and promoting prostitution of a minor.
State authorities said that both are likely to face more charges for displaying the degrading images on the Internet.
Prosecution will be conducted by the Division of Criminal Justice's Human Trafficking Unit within its Gangs and Organized Crime Bureau. Authorities did not indicate whether White or Regn had retained legal counsel.
Incidents of human trafficking can be reported confdientially to the Division of Criminal Justice, 855-END-NJ-HT.