D.A. Bragg: Apartment Super Charged With Labor Trafficking For Raping And Coercing His Building Cleaner Over A Six-Year Period

January 23, 2024

Jose Espinoza Allegedly Raped an Undocumented Immigrant Who Cleaned Apartments; Used Coercion and Threats to Compel Survivor’s Compliance

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr., today announced the indictment of JOSE ESPINOZA, 62, for raping, sexually abusing and assaulting an undocumented immigrant from Paraguay who cleaned apartments in a Flatiron building where he worked as a superintendent. ESPINOZA used threats and coercion to prevent the survivor from leaving for more than six years. He is charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment with one count of Rape in the First Degree; two counts of Criminal Sexual Acts in the First Degree; one count of Aggravated Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree; three counts of Labor Trafficking; and two counts of Assault in the Third Degree. [1] 

“These alleged acts are absolutely horrendous, and I cannot imagine the physical, emotional and mental trauma this survivor continues to experience. It took extraordinary strength and courage for her to come forward and our team of specially trained prosecutors, investigators and social workers will support her with every resource we have available,” said District Attorney Bragg. “My Office is here to fully assist anyone who has been the survivor of sexual abuse and trafficking, and I urge anyone who has experienced this type of violence and abuse to call us at 212-335-3400.”

According to court documents and statements made on the record, in August 2017, ESPINOZA offered the survivor – who also has a special needs child – money in exchange for sex if she agreed to clean apartments in his building. In 2018, ESPINOZA started to assault and beat the survivor and initiated a campaign of control by demanding she send him photographs over text so he could determine her whereabouts. 

ESPINOZA escalated his control over the survivor through coercion, including ripping and taking her passports. He demanded a naked photograph of her daughter and threatened to share it if the survivor ever defied his orders. 

ESPINOZA’S abuse became even more severe over time. In one instance, he forced the survivor to have sex with him in front of her daughter. 

In the spring of 2022, the survivor was diagnosed with breast cancer and disclosed her abuse to a social worker at Bellevue Hospital after several months of treatment. She began to bring clothing and personal objects to the hospital every time she had an appointment. 

When it was safe for the survivor to alert law enforcement, the NYPD was notified, and ESPINOZA was arrested in December 2023. The investigation by NYPD and the Office uncovered that ESPINOZA kept a camera focused on a piggy bank where he put the survivor’s earnings and tracked her location using the “Find my Friends” app on his phone. 

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant D.A. Jonathon Junig (Chief of the Human Trafficking Unit) and Assistant D.A. Megan Mers, of the Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Bureau, under the Supervision of Justin McNabney (Chief of the Special Victims Unit). 

D.A. Bragg thanked Detective Kevin Deleon and the rest of the NYPD Human Trafficking Detective Squad, analysts Leslie Martinez and Janine Nassar, and Human Trafficking Clinical Director Melissa Martinez Valdes of the Witness Aid Services Unit, all of whom assisted with this investigation and provided valuable support. 


Defendant Information: 


New York, New York 


  • Rape in the First Degree, a Class B felony, one count
  • Criminal Sexual Act in the First Degree, a class B felony, two counts 
  • Aggravated Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree, a class C felony, one count 
  • Labor Trafficking, a class D felony, three counts
  • Assault in the Third Degree, a class A misdemeanor, two counts 


[1] The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All factual recitations are derived from documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court.