25 Investigates: Former group home worker faces judge on sex trafficking charges

25 Investigates: Former group home worker faces judge on sex trafficking charges

A youth home worker has been charged with trafficking a minor who lived in a Saugus facility for foster kids, setting up sexual encounters online and prostituting the teenage girl on the weekends, as first reported by 25 Investigates in May.

Ashley Goodrich, 27, appeared in Worcester Superior Court Friday and pleaded not guilty to three counts of trafficking a person under 18 for sexual servitude, one count of deriving support from a minor prostitute and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Goodrich, a former employee at the Eliot Atlantic House in Saugus – a residence that provides care for teens under the care of Department of Children and Families - allegedly used her position to target and recruit the minor.  She was terminated from her position and the Saugus home was shut down in May.

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Outside the courthouse, Goodrich refused to comment and held up a folder to cover her face.

According to a report first obtained by Boston 25 earlier this year, Goodrich, a Lynn resident, was working at the Eliot Atlantic House when she convinced the teenage girl to sell herself for sex on the weekends. She told the girl that she “had a way they could make money together,” according to the report.

In that same report, investigators describe 40 to 60 emails between Goodrich and alleged “Johns” that “reflect various sexual acts arranged in exchange for money.”

In May, Investigative Reporter Eric Rasmussen uncovered other cases of kids in foster care pimped out on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and then returned to their taxpayer-funded group homes on Monday.

The girl told investigators that the staff member took her to Worcester three times and once to Boston “to have sex with unknown men for money” on the weekends, leaving the facility on weekends because she knew DCF couldn’t get a warrant for her until Monday.

Speaking exclusively to Boston 25 News after the indictment against Goodrich, Attorney General Maura Healey described the seriousness of the case.

"This was a girl who was vulnerable to begin with, then was exploited," Healey said. "This is a situation in where a person who was taking care of a young person was the one who was facilitating the human trafficking. Setting up sexual encounters and trafficking young girls."

Judge Janet Kenton-Walker released Goodrich on personal recognizance but she was ordered to stay away from the victim, witnesses, any former or current residents of the group home and any former or current employees of the company.