YATES COUNTY, N.Y. (WENY) -- The New York State Police announced the arrest of 18 people Friday, following an investigation into child exploitation that took place over several years. Yates County District Attorney Todd Casella held a very brief press conference in Penn Yan on Monday, April 17th. 

This investigation resulted in the arrest of 18 individuals from various parts of New York and one from Florida,” said District Attorney Todd Casella. 

The investigation centered around 49-year-old Andrew Daugherty, who faces the most serious charges of rape, criminal sexual act, promoting a sexual performance by a child, and other charges, including sex trafficking of a child. Daugherty is also a level two registered sex offender, having been convicted in 2006 on charges of Attempted Sexual Abuse in the First Degree, involving a male five year old child in the city of Elmira. 

“The predatory sexual against a child charged against Andrew Daugherty and Micheleine Ridley encompass a period of time between 2017 to 2019. So the allegations within all the charges range from 2017 through to October 2022," Casella noted.  Ridley is among the 18 charged in the investigation, indicted on charges of Predatory Sexual Assault Against a Child, and Tampering with Physical Evidence. 

D.A. Casella accused Daugherty of sexually exploiting a minor over a period of seven years. He additionally participated in the exploitation of that same child which led to the arrests of more than a dozen other people in the investigation by state police. 

In my ten years as a criminal prosecutor I have not seen a case like this,” The D.A. concluded.  

The victim is safe and being well taken care of, according to Penn Yan District Attorney’s office. The minor is now 16 years old.