Three New York men convicted Friday of torturing and raping prostitutes would scour the internet to find their victims.
Fernando Sandel, 29; Isaiah Rivera, 34; and Joey Cruz, 29, were all convicted of predatory sexual assault, conspiracy, rape and charges related to the vicious attacks.
Authorities said the men found their first victim, a 20-year-old prostitute, through an online ad for sex in June 2015. The woman arranged for a man to meet her in the South Bronx, the New York Daily News reports.
Fernando Sandel was one of the three men convicted Friday of torturing and raping prostitutes in a string of attacks in 2015. He’s pictured above during a 2016 court appearance
Joey Cruz, pictured during a 2016 court appearance, was also convicted. All three men involved were convicted of predatory sexual assault, conspiracy and rape
Isaiah Rivera, pictured in a 2016 court appearance, was also convicted in a Manhattan courtroom Friday
When she arrived, three men were waiting. Police said the woman was forced to the roof of the building and then raped and robbed. She was treated at an area hospital.
The second attack happened on August 3, 2015, when a 34-year-old woman arranged to meet with a man at a hotel. The woman was pepper sprayed, bound by her ankles and wrists with zip ties and raped.
A third woman was attacked in a Gramercy apartment the following day, according to Manhattan District Attorney.
Sandel and Cruz discussed the crimes in text messages to each other, authorities said.
On April 11, 2015, Sandel wrote: ‘About to hit up 33rd street… I need to get that paper and free p***y’.
‘B**** better have my money,’ Rivera said in another message sent weeks later.
Cruz (left) and Rivera (right) were also convicted of pepper spraying and sexually assaulting a woman attacked in June 2015
Sandel responded: ‘You crazy bro soon just bring that pepper spray & taser’.
‘These defendants deliberately targeted vulnerable, prostituted women because they thought these women would not go to law enforcement for help — and that even if they did, no one would believe them,’ DA Cy Vance Jr. said, according to the News.
‘They were wrong. These brave survivors did go to law enforcement. We believed them, and the jury believed them.’
Cruz and Rivera were also convicted of pepper spraying and sexually assaulting the woman attacked in June 2015.
Among the sites they used to find victims was Backpage.com.