Sex trafficking case involving minor moves forward after plea agreement

Lewis Valenti signed a plea agreement.
Lewis Valenti signed a plea agreement.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A sex trafficking victim identified as A.A. was not quite 17 years old when court documents allege she was driven from Massachusetts to Rhode Island for sexual “transactions,” the Target 12 Investigators have learned.

Lewis Valenti, who made headlines last year as the CEO of a high-tech greenhouse in West Kingston, was arrested in May along with two other men on sex trafficking charges in a case that devolved into blackmail about sex videos that purportedly featured Valenti and A.A.

Now, Valenti has signed an agreement to plead guilty to one count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

Valenti was never indicted for the sex-related charge, but the two other men allegedly involved with bringing him the teenager and the cocaine over the course of about a year each face four felony counts.

Rene Anthony Laureano and Kedwin Vargas were indicted in May on a variety of charges, including sex trafficking of children.

The indictments allege the teen was driven to Valenti more than 10 times.

“During several of these transactions A.A. had not yet reached her seventeenth birthday,” the document stated.

According to the indictment, Valenti went to Rhode Island State Police in March, claiming he was being blackmailed through text messages.

“The sender stated that unless Valenti paid $10,000 he would harm Valenti’s family,” the document stated. “The sender claimed to have a video recording of Valenti in a compromising situation with a woman.”

The sender threatened to “share” the video with Valenti’s wife, according to the document.

Valenti agreed to call the sender to record the telephone conversations, which investigators said “corroborated Valenti’s claim he was a victim of blackmail.”

The cocaine and prostitution transactions allegedly took place from April of 2015 to May 27, 2016.

Last month, Valenti filed a motion to modify the conditions of his bail to allow him to potentially “take his pregnant wife to the hospital for the birth of their child” in late October.

None of the defense attorneys involved has returned requests for comment.

Send tips to Target 12 Investigator Walt Buteau at wbuteau@wpri.com and follow him on Twitter @wbuteau.