Teen says prostitution fed her stepfather's drug habit
The teenage girl whose stepfather is accused of pimping her out said she was working right up until he was arrested in Penticton last summer.
The girl, whose stepfather’s name is under a court ban in order to protect the teen’s identity, told Judge Gregory Korturbash that she was threatened many times when she told her stepfather she did not want to prostitute any longer.
The girl, now 18, said her stepfather began sexually abusing her in exchange for marijuana while she lived in Osoyoos in 2007, when she was just 12 years old. Afraid of facing her stepfather in court, the teen was allowed to testify via video.
She said the abuse would take place while her mom was playing on her computer, which according to the teen was all the time. She detailed times when the abuse occurred while they lived in Osoyoos, Okanagan Falls, Surrey and finally in Penticton before he was arrested. But she said it was while living in Surrey in 2010 that the prostitution began.
The girl, who was 16 at the time, said her stepfather was a crack addict and they had no money.
She said prior to moving to Surrey, the family lived in a homeless shelter on Hastings Street where her father made her panhandle on the streets and later at a SkyTrain station where he worked handing out flyers.
The girl testified it was just one week after the family moved into the Bollywood Hotel in Surrey that her stepfather told her that he wanted her to start prostituting herself like the other girls in the neighbourhood. According to her, it was to feed her stepfather’s $200-300 a day cocaine habit.
That very same day, she said her stepfather walked her to a thrift store on King George Highway.
“He walked me out to the street. He would go out to the vehicles to talk to them and arrange it, then tell me to go in the vehicle,” she said.
She recalled getting two to three dates a day, charging them $80 for vaginal sex and $60 for oral sex. During one date the girl said she was pulled over by police just a block away from the thrift store. She said her stepfather walked over and picked her up.
“Like I was his kid and he didn’t know what I was doing,” said the girl, adding they were not charged with anything.
The girl said the prostituting went on for seven to eight months until they moved back to Penticton in May 2011.
The teen said her stepfather began selling drugs at the Penticton Soupateria and prostituting her from the bus stop located on the corner of Martin Street and Orchard Avenue. She said he needed the money “to keep flipping over the drugs he sold,” which she said included cocaine, heroin, marijuana and morphine.
The girl said her stepfather would pick her up close to her school at the time the soup kitchen opened at 11:30 a.m. and walk her down there to work.
She said she had about one to two clients a day that she would perform oral sex on either at a location near the landfill, in an alley near King’s Park or in what she called the “Singla” homes. The girl said sometimes her stepfather also took her to downtown Kelowna to work while he picked up heroin.
The girl testified her stepfather had set up a weekly Monday date with one of the johns, Benjamin Wolfe, where he would meet them in Lakawana Park. The girl said Wolfe would pick her up from her stepfather and walk her over to his apartment.
Prior to being charged with anything last summer, Wolfe admitted to the Western News he had paid a girl for sexual services. At the time, Wolfe said he did not know she was underage. He faces his own set of charges in relation to this and is also is appearing as a witness on Thursday in this case.
The girl testified that Wolfe was charged $100 by her stepfather each time. She said Wolfe would take her to a bedroom with a child-sized bed that had “dolls and stuff everywhere.” While there, she said they did not engage in oral or vaginal sex.
“That is what he said to everyone, but he always touched me — never did anything sexual, sexual,” explained the girl, who added Wolfe would touch her body and breasts but not her genitals.
Defence counsel James Pennington spent Tuesday morning picking apart the girl’s three statements to RCMP in which she said she began prostituting while the family lived in Vancouver on her own terms.
In the statement, she said she was walking down the street and was propositioned for money and she went ahead with it. In court, the girl admitted that was an “out and out lie” that she told the officer because she was still scared of her stepfather, confused and did not feel comfortable speaking with the Mountie.
Crown counsel Wendy Kavanagh said the trial is scheduled to run until Friday, with testimony from school officials, RCMP and the johns still to be heard.