MADISON, WIS. – Timothy M. O’Shea, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that James Coney, 32, Madison, Wisconsin, was found guilty today of 10 counts related to sex trafficking of minors. The jury reached its verdict after five hours of deliberation following four days of testimony in U.S. District Court in Madison.
Coney was found guilty of 4 counts of sex trafficking a minor, 1 count of sex trafficking a minor by force, 1 count of attempted sex trafficking a minor, and 4 counts of transporting a minor from Wisconsin to Illinois for the purpose of prostitution.
The jury found that from May 2017 to March 2018, Coney trafficked five minors, attempted to traffic a sixth minor, and transported three minors from Wisconsin to Illinois where they engaged in prostitution. Coney transported one of the minors on two separate days. The evidence presented at trial showed that Coney used Backpage ads to arrange “dates” for the minor victims, collected the money, and instructed the minors on what to do. All six of the minor victims testified at the trial. Numerous witnesses testified that Coney was physically and verbally abusive to the minor victim who was with Coney the longest, from May 2017 to March 2018.
The investigation of Coney began when one of the minor victims was reported missing by her mother to the Fitchburg Police Department. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children publicized the minor’s disappearance, and she ultimately was recovered in Chicago where she had been with Coney.
Coney faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum of life in federal prison. A sentencing date has not been set.
The charges against Coney are the result of an investigation by the Fitchburg Police Department and Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation, with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Chicago, Lake Delton, Janesville, and Madison Police Departments; and the Dane County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julie Pfluger and Taylor Kraus are handling the prosecution.