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Teen girls accused of pimping out peers could be sentenced as adults
Published Monday, April 8, 2013 5:35PM EDT Last Updated Tuesday, April 9, 2013 5:41PM EDT
The crown has asked the three teenage girls at the centre of an alleged prostitution ring be sentenced as adults, if they're found guilty.
The application came on the second day of trial.
Three teenage girls charged with running a prostitution ring pleaded not guilty. The girls, ages 16 and 17, face dozens of charges after a bizarre and shocking case of confinement and sexual assault in the city's east end.
Tuesday, the court was presented with evidence collected by police investigators. Included, cellphone data from one of the accused.
Phone contacts showed several numbers belonging to the alleged victims, alleged Johns, and several adult dating chatlines.
Photos were also recovered from the phone. A police investigator described in court dozens of photos of alleged victims wearing lingerie or nothing at all. Some of the photos showed the alleged victims in sexually explicit positions.
Other photos showed the accused teens posing in miniskirts posing with alcohol bottles and drugs.
In a courtroom packed with teenagers, two young girls entered the prisoner box. They were wearing crisp white shirts and black pants with their faces free of makeup. Gone are the dreadlocks and gangster-style clothes the girls had on when they first appeared in court just after their arrest, last year.
It was at a community housing complex on Walkley road that the Crown contends the two girls, and a third one who is 17 now, abducted, sexually assaulted, and photographed girls as young as 13 and then forced them to prostitute themselves. When Ottawa Police first made the arrests in June of last year, they knew about three victims but they always suspected there were more. The court has now been told there are seven victims. The Crown told court the victims were recruited one at a time through Facebook. When they arrived at one of the girls' homes, they were threatened, drugged, then photographed nude and forced to have sex with men for as little as $50 dollars. It’s a story that shocked even the most seasoned of police officers.
"It’s shocking for the team. they never saw anything like it,” says Staff Sergeant John McGetrick of the Ottawa Police Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Section.
Court heard that an address on St. Laurent Street was used as a rooming house where the girls were taken. The crown alleges one girl resisted and was punched by one of the accused. She tried to flee but didn't get away.
Crown evidence shows the girls bragging about their business on Facebook
"Girls work for me" one wrote. "I just set it up, make sure the girls are safe".
Altogether, the 3 teens face 36 counts including procuring a person to become a prostitute, confinement, assault and robbery, sexual assault, uttering death threats and making child pornography.
The two younger girls are in jail, the third is out on bail.
The judge has final say on whether or not to sentence the teens as adults at the end of the trial.
The maximum sentence under the youth justice act is three years from the time of committal. The maximum sentence for an adult facing similar charges is 14 years.
The trial is expected to last four weeks.