|James Parham, 75, has been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a nuisance after he was allegedly discovered running a prostitution ring from the Vincente K. Tibbs Senior Citizen Building in New Jersey and using some elderly residents as sex workers, reports New Jersey’s The Record.|
His accomplice, Cheryl Chaney, 66, stands accused of allowing residents and visitors to use crack in their apartments, according to police. In addition to the drug paraphernalia and nuisance charges, Chaney was also charged with being in possession of crack cocaine.
Englewood Police Chief Arthur O’Keefe told NBC 4 New York on Tuesday that Parham ran the prostitution ring through his apartments, and employed a mix of young women and older residents.Selma McDuffie, 54, who was also arrested in connection with the case, was found to be in possession of a crack pipe and suspended from her position as a police-run school crossing guard, reports the Associated Press.
Lack of security is believed to be partly to blame for the unusual nature of the crime, and it’s scope. Residents complaints about the rise in crime led to an investigation which included round-the-clock police patrol.
There have been no reports of diminished mental or physical capacity that would make the elderly sex workers victims of exploitation and neglect, but Chief O’Keefe told New Jersey’s The Record that it was a tragic situation.
“Essentially, they were prisoners in their own building,” O’Keefe said. “I wasn’t going to allow that to continue.”Reportedly, none of sex workers have been arrested in connection with the crime. Though some of them are elderly, Parham allegedly told police that most were young women with addictions that he would pimp out to younger neighbors.
The Vincente K. Tibbs Senior Citizen Building 152-unit complex, exclusively for low-income people 62 and older, and disabled people 55 and older.
Both Parham and Chaney are in the process of being evicted.