LINDENHURST, N.Y. — A 21-year-old woman and a teenage girl described as a runaway were forced to work as prostitutes and prevented from leaving a suburban New York home — one allegedly for more than a year — before authorities rescued them and arrested the man suspected of keeping them captive, police said Wednesday.
Andy Gayot, 35, of Lindenhurst, was arrested on Tuesday at his Long Island home after probation department officials acquired a search warrant after sensing "something didn't smell right" about conditions during a prior visit to the modest two-story home on a quiet middle-class suburban street, Suffolk County Police Det. Lt. Robert Edwards said.
Suffolk County police, probation department officers and FBI agents took part in the arrests.
Gayot pleaded not guilty to prostitution, rape, unlawful imprisonment, weapons and drug and other charges on Wednesday. Bond was set at $1,002,500. Defense attorney Larry Flowers said his client denied the allegations. "Once all the facts are known, we believe he will be vindicated," Flowers said.
Edwards said the man had an extensive criminal record with arrests for narcotics, violating orders of protection and driving violations. At a news conference on Wednesday, he described the home as a "flop house" where transients would come and go.
A person behind the door at the house told a reporter to leave his property on Wednesday. All the blinds were shut on windows on the first and second floors, and a dog barked loudly from inside.
Edwards declined to discuss the condition or whereabouts of the women, other than to say they are Long Island residents. He described the 15-year-old as a runaway; she was allegedly held for about four months while the older woman was a captive for more than a year. Edwards said the women were not forcibly held, but were victims of "physical abuse, threats of force and were given large amounts of narcotics to keep them compliant."
He said the women were driven by Gayot to undisclosed locations, where they were forced to engage in sex for money. Edwards said the women never received any compensation. "They got paid in food and narcotics," he said.
One neighbor of the Lindenhurst home, Susan Luff, said she had seen cars coming and going frequently at the house over the past several months, but didn't know anything about women allegedly being held.