SUFFOLK COUNTY, NY (WCBS/CNN) - Police say a man led a human trafficking and prostitution ring out of the basement of his parents’ house for five years.
Authorities accused Raymond Rodio III, 47, who appeared in court Thursday handcuffed and in a green jail suit.
"He kept women locked up in the basement of his parents’ house," said Timothy Sini, Suffolk County District Attorney.
In court, Rodio shook his head as in disbelief as prosecutors outlined the charges against him.
He is charged with eight counts of sex trafficking and six counts of promoting prostitution.
Prosecutors allege Rodio used social media to recruit 20 women to have sex for money with clients in the basement of the home between 2014 and February 2019.
Authorities said he lured them with drugs - heroin and cocaine - to get them hooked and keep them working for him.
"Rodio would intimidate and threaten them either with physical violence or by threatening to withhold drugs from them," Sini said.
Prosecutors describe conditions in the basement as “disgusting” and the treatment of the women as “deplorable.”
"Some of the victims were forced to stay in the basement for long periods of time where there was no shower, there was no bathroom,” Sini said. “They were forced to use a bucket as a toilet."
Rodio’s father, Raymond Rodio, gave a tour of the basement where his son lived.
There was a simple bed and blanket, some shelves and framed pictures on the walls.
"I don't know what's going on,” said Raymond Rodio. “He has a drug problem and that was the drug problem. That's all."
Raymond Rodio said his son attended West Point for a year and a half, did have his demons but that he had no clue about the alleged sex ring.
"Prostitution? No," his father said.
Neighbors in the area said they saw people coming and going from the house but didn't think anything of it and are repulsed by the news.
"And if it's true it's extremely disgusting," said one neighbor.
Rodio pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
He is being held on $2 million bail.
If he's convicted on the most serious charges, he could face 25 years in prison.