Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez announced her office has brought serious charges in a sex trafficking case in Schiller Park, near Park Ridge and Niles. Her office released the following statement:
A suburban man and two of his associates have been charged with multiple Class X felony offenses relating to human trafficking for allegedly operating a prostitution ring based in suburban Cook County in which vulnerable women were forced into a life of drug addiction, violence and prostitution, State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced today.
Keith Williams, 52, of Schiller Park, has been charged with Involuntary Servitude, a Class X Felony punishable by up to 30 years, as well as Trafficking In Persons, a Class One Felony. Williams, who also goes by the street name of “Shampoo,” appeared in bond court today at the Cook County Criminal Courts Building in Chicago where his bond was set at $650,000.
Also charged in the investigation is Roman Kurek, 49, who lived at the same residence in Schiller Park as Williams, and Sylvia Topolewski, 37, also of the same address. Kurek and Topolewski are also charged with Involuntary Servitude and Trafficking in Persons. Kurek has also been charged with Promoting Prostitution and Topolewski with Prostitution. Kurek and Topolewski had their bonds set at $350,000 each.
The charges are the result of a long-term joint undercover investigation by the State’s Attorney’s Human Trafficking Initiative, the Schiller Park Police Department and the Illinois State Police. According to Alvarez, the investigation began last May, after Schiller Park Police developed initial information of possible drug activity and prostitution taking place at Williams’ Schiller Park residence.
“What started out as a standard investigation into drugs and prostitution quickly evolved into something much more complex,” Alvarez said. “As it turned out, Keith Williams was the Chief Operating Officer of a sex trafficking house of horrors, providing the sexual services of drug addicted women to countless numbers of paying customers and collecting all of the significant cash profits for himself and his associates.”
According to prosecutors, Williams targeted and recruited vulnerable women, most of whom he met on the street who were poor or homeless. He then brought them to live at the Schiller Park residence where they were hooked on powerful narcotics, and thereafter forced to engage in prostitution on a daily basis.
According to prosecutors, Kurek was responsible for driving the women to and from the Schiller Park residence to other locations for sex-trafficking. Topolewski monitored the women for Williams, providing them with heroin and crack cocaine on a “silver platter,” two to three times every day in order to sustain their addictions under the control of the defendant.
The women were routinely beaten and randomly assaulted by Williams, who would punish them for so-called “bad behavior” with severe beatings or by withholding food or drugs. According to prosecutors, in some cases Williams handcuffed the women who upset him or locked them in a room in the building where he would beat them, urinate on them and leave them for days without food as they became increasingly “dope sick” from drug withdrawal.
The case is being handled by the State’s Attorney’s Human Trafficking Initiative Unit, which is working in partnership with law enforcement agencies to combat the problem of domestic human trafficking. The State’s Attorney’s Human Trafficking Unit has designated prosecutors who are working with law enforcement partners at the federal, state and local level to conduct long-term and proactive investigations. The office is also working in partnership with social service providers to assist law enforcement and help provide services for children or others who become the victims of human trafficking.
State’s Attorney Alvarez thanked the Schiller Park Police Department, the Illinois State Police and the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department as well as the prosecutors, investigators and embedded social service providers from her Human Trafficking Initiative for their work on the case.