PORTLAND — The victim of a man sentenced to more than 26 years in prison for sex trafficking and drug charges said she’d rather die than be with him.

Vincent Graham, 35, also known as “Shawn” and “Mac,” of Bronx, New York, was sentenced to 320 months in prison and six years of supervised release on Wednesday at U.S. District Court in Portland, according to a press release from U.S. Attorney Halsey Frank.

Graham pleaded guilty on Jan. 4 to charges of sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion, distributing heroin and crack cocaine, and transporting a victim in interstate commerce with the intent that she engage in prostitution.

He will serve the sentence concurrently with the remainder of a six-year prison sentence he is serving in New York, according to court records.

Graham began serving a six-year sentence in a state prison in New York in October 2017 for a felony drug trafficking conviction, according to New York State’s Department of Corrections.

In the summer of 2015, he met a woman in Biddeford who supported her heroin addition by prostitution.

During July and August of 2015, Graham directed the woman to prostitute herself. The woman gave Graham the money, and he provided her with just enough heroin to keep her from suffering withdrawal symptoms.

Graham promised the victim she could make a lot of money and took her to Lowell, Massachusetts, in July 2015, where he forced her into prostitution through violence and intimidation tactics, took her money, and continued to give her heroin.

Graham was emotionally, verbally and physically abusive to the woman, threatened to kill her if she left him, and on two occasions in 2015, beat her in front of witnesses.

According to court documents, when she asked him how she could be expected to engage in prostitution with visible injuries, Graham responded,“They’ll pay for it, trust me, they’ll pay for it because they’ll sympathize. They’ll feel sorry for you so they’ll pay more.:

The victim left Graham with the help of family and friends after the second assault. She saw him again on Dec. 10, 2015, and he took her and another woman to Massachusetts to engage in prostitution for his profit. She continued to engage in prostitution under his direction until Dec. 22, 2015, when she left with the help of a friend after he assaulted her one last time.

Staff at Southern Maine Health Care reported that the victim went to the hospital on Dec. 23, 2015, and told staff that she had been living with a man who “beats her badly,” and she was “selling her body” for him, according to court documents.

According to court documents, she reportedly told hospital staff, “I’d rather die than keep going back to that man. He’s either going to kill me or I am going to kill myself.”

In imposing the sentence, Judge John Woodcock told Graham it was unimaginable that a man would treat a woman the way he had treated the victim, according to the press release.

“As a man, it’s just unimaginable to me that you would treat a woman this way,” Woodcock said. “The need to provide just punishment requires no further explanation. The need to protect the public is also self-explanatory.”

Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be reached at 780-9015 or by email at [email protected]

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