Prosecutors Secure Conviction in Suburban Human Trafficking Case

Three Schiller Park residents charged last year with running a suburban prostitution ring that used drugs and violence to force vulnerable women into a life of prostitution have pled guilty in the case, according to the Office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Keith Williams, 53, who also goes by the street name “Shampoo,” pled guilty to Involuntary Servitude (Class X felony) and was sentenced to 8 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Roman Kurek, 51, and Sylvia Topolewski, 38, each pled guilty to Promoting Prostitution (Class 4 felony). Kurek was sentenced to 3 years in the Illinois Department of Correction while Topolewski is awaiting sentencing, pending a pre-sentencing investigation.

The case was 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 in May of 2012, after Schiller Park Police developed initial information of possible drug activity and prostitution taking place at Williams’ Schiller Park residence.

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 and provided with powerful narcotics, and thereafter forced to engage in prostitution on a daily basis, either on the street or through meetings arranged on the Internet or by telephone.

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 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.  Prosecutors said in some cases Williams would beat them, urinate on them and leave them for days without food as they became increasingly “dope sick” from drug withdrawal.

The case was handled by the State’s Attorney’s Human Trafficking Initiative Unit, which works 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.

Williams and Kurek pled guilty today while Topolewski pled guilty yesterday (July 17).  Both hearings were held before Cook County Judge Thomas Fecarotta at the Rolling Meadows Courthouse.

State’s Attorney Alvarez thanked Assistant State’s Attorneys Brigid Brown and Mary Anna Planey, as well as the Schiller Park Police Department, and the Illinois State Police for their work on the case.