Senior Prostitution Ring: Elderly James Parham and Cheryl Chaney Arrested on Drug Charges
Nov. 8, 2013 update: James Parham has pleaded guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a nuisance for purposes of engaging in unlawful conduct. As part of the plea, Parham will pay more than $1500 in fines and is prohibited from living in Englewood Housing Authority buildings, but he will not face jail time.
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A 75-year-old man and 66-year-old woman have been arrested for allegedly running a prostitution ring out of an Englewood, New Jersey senior citizen complex, the New Jersey Record reported.
Two residents at the Vincente Tibbs Senior Citizen Building, James Parham, 75, and Cheryl Chaney, 54, are suspected of being behind a recent rise in crime in the complex. Residents had begun to complain about drunks and addicts in the building, prompting an undercover investigation and police patrols.
"Essentially, they were prisoners in their own building," said Englewood police chief Arthur O'Keefe of residents fearful to open their doors. "I wasn't going to allow that to continue."
When police came to the complex in March to give safety seminars, seniors unloaded tales of drunks bumbling around in common areas and condoms in the rec room.
"That certainly was not acceptable to us," O'Keefe said.
Parham and Chaney, suspected of using cocaine, were charged with possessing drug paraphernalia and maintaining a drug nuisance. Police say that Parham admitted to providing crack-cocaine-addicted prostitutes to younger neighbors, but he has not yet been charged with any prostitution-related crimes. Selma McDuffie, 54, a school crossing guard who does not live in the housing complex, was charged for having a crack pipe.
The Englewood Housing Authority, which manages the senior complex, bars any residents from having who have had recent drug convictions or a record of violent crimes. Both Parham and Chaney passed background checks.
"They came up absolutely clean," said Maria Iwano, the housing authority's executive director. "They had nothing to prevent us from putting them in the building."
Iwano also said that the complex had a security guard for a number of years, but after federal funding cuts took place they could no longer pay a guard. In other, larger New Jersey cities such as Newark, housing authorities have their own security forces; some other cities, like Hackensack and Paterson, pay for police protection. With no money for security at the Englewood senior complex, residents must contact police if they have any issues.
But, with the undercover operation and temporary police protection, "Things are getting better," resident James Harrison told The Record. "Druggies and drunks, that's what used to be here, all day long, day and night."
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