By Jonathan Sperling
A Cambria Heights man charged with trying to kill his girlfriend after she began refusing his attempts to pimp her out was indicted on Thursday in Queens Supreme Court.
David Viltus, 30, allegedly beat his girlfriend by choking her, punching her and slashing her face when she refused to perform sex work in 2018. Viltus’ girlfriend is transgender, and her case marks the first time the Queens District Attorney’s Office has prosecuted a sex trafficking case involving a transgender person, said Chief Assistant District Attorney John Ryan.
“The victim — who was involved in an intimate relationship with the defendant — was allegedly brutally beaten by the man when she tried to stop prostituting herself for him. The woman’s face was slashed,” Ryan said in a statement. “She was repeatedly punched and choked out all because she didn’t want to have sex with strangers for cash any more..”
“We are certain that this is not the first time someone in the transgender community has been victimized in this way,” Ryan continued. “Sex trafficking amongst transgender people is sorely under reported in Queens and elsewhere. Victims of sex trafficking regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity should not hesitate to come forward. Our office is here to help everyone.”
Police discovered the alleged murder attempt on April 19, 2018, when a 911 dispatcher received a call from the Hillside Hotel in Jamaica. Police found Viltus’ girlfriend, a 29-year-old woman, allegedly slashed with a scalpel knife. Investigators also believe Viltus smashed a plant on her head, punched her in the face, put her in a headlock and threw her against an automated door hard enough to knock it off its hinges.
Prosecutors discovered that Viltus was allegedly forcing the woman into prostitution and taking all of the money that she made from the work.
The indictment also states that Viltus contacted the woman and tried convincing her to drop the charges after his arrest.
Justice Peter Vallone, Jr. ordered Viltus held without bail and to return to court on July 15. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.