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Queens man sentenced for forcing LI runaway to work as prostitute

A Queens man faces a prison term of 2 to 6 years following a guilty plea to sex trafficking, after he held captive a 15-year-old Long Island runaway and forced her to work as a prostitute, prosecutors said.

"This was a horrific case in which the victim, a young girl, managed to survive a nightmarish ordeal in which she was forced to work as a prostitute," Queens County District Attorney Richard A. Brown said Thursday in a statement.

"Fortunately, as a result of the defendant's guilty plea, the victim will not have to testify at trial and relive her ordeal," Brown said.

Gary Council, 22, of Ozone Park, pleaded guilty Feb. 14 to sex trafficking. He appeared Thursday before Queens Supreme Court Justice Joseph Zayas, who sentenced him to an indeterminate term of 2 to 6 years in prison, the DA's office said.

The district attorney gave the following account of the crime:

On Feb. 6, 2012, the victim was with a friend in Brooklyn when they were taken to a house on 101st Avenue in Ozone Park, where she met Gary Council and other people.

"When the victim tried to leave the house with her friend, Council grabbed her by the arm and said, 'You're not going anywhere. You are going to stay here and make [me] money'."

For the next five days the victim was forced to have sex for money with numerous men at the house, and Council took the money. When she tried to leave he grabbed her and threatened her, but on Feb. 12 Council told her "to go across the street and get him something from the store but when the victim left she instead ran away and did not return," the prosecutor said.

At the time of Council's arrest, authorities said Council and five others forced the girl to take Ecstasy pills.

Council had been indicted on charges of first-degree kidnapping, first-degree rape, first- and third-degree criminal sexual act, second-degree kidnapping, compelling prostitution, sex trafficking, second-degree burglary, second- and third-degree promoting prostitution, third-degree attempted grand larceny, third-degree rape, and endangering the welfare of a child. If he had been convicted on those charges, Council had faced 25 years to life in prison.

Council's Forest Hills attorney, Christopher Whitehair, was in court on another matter and could not be reached for comment Friday, his office said.

Five others indicted in connection with the case also pleaded guilty to various charges and face sentencing at a later date. They are Andrea Furlonge, 21, of Ozone Park; and Roy McMillan, 24, Junior C. Goldring, 23, Omari A. Millington, 21, and Renardo Williams, 22, all of Brooklyn.

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