A best friend and parent is how the Penticton man accused of pimping out his teenage stepdaughter explained their relationship.
The man, whose name is under publication ban to protect the stepdaughter, is facing 10 charges including sexual assault, living off the avails of prostitution and an adult or guardian procuring sexual activity. His trial resumed on Wednesday, and when asked on several occasions by the Crown and defence if he had any type of sexual contact with his stepdaughter, the man vehemently denied it.
“This is my daughter, and I don’t know what world you live in, but if I noticed (something) like that I would have called the cops,” said the stepfather in his profanity-laced testimony.
When Crown counsel Wendy Kavanagh questioned if he thought the men who had been paying for his stepdaughter’s sexual services were “diddlers”, he agreed.
Kavanagh asked why he didn’t call the police on those men to protect his daughter. The man said he did not trust RCMP and wanted nothing to do with them after having previous dealings with them that resulted in drug trafficking charges. He said he was still dealing heroin, cocaine and marijuana and wanted nothing to do with the police, adding that he was also scared of losing his stepdaughter and did not want to be a “rat.”
After bouncing from Penticton to Osoyoos, Edmonton, Okanagan Falls, Surrey and back to Penticton, the stepfather said it wasn’t until a spring break drug run to Surrey that he had proof she was prostituting. The stepfather said while he met his heroin supplier, the girl said she was going to visit friends. The man said police later tracked him down with the girl sitting in the back of the police vehicle. He said the officer told him they found a crack pipe on the girl and suspected her of being a sex-trade worker. The stepfather said he got into an argument with the girl, upset that she was working as a prostitute, but the girl promised not to do it again if he didn’t tell her mother.
The stepfather claimed the girl did not stop working as a sex-trade worker in Penticton and her school became involved, meeting with the girl and her parents about her absence from classes and to talk about sightings of her at the Soupateria bus stop — a well-known place for sex-trade workers to hang out. The stepfather said he couldn’t stop his teenage daughter.
“I knew I couldn’t stop it, but I had to make sure she was safe,” he said. “She is 17 years old, she can pretty much do what she wants.”
He said he made efforts to record licence plates and makes of vehicles she got into, but said he did not know if she was going on dates or selling marijuana.
“I got her selling weed so maybe she wouldn’t do prostitution. At least if you go to jail, it’s for weed,” said the stepfather.
He admitted to getting involved in the girl’s sex-trade business on two occasions, once to relay a message relating to price to one of the johns and another time when the girl told him a man in a white truck had owed her money. An undercover RCMP officer testified in June he arranged with the stepfather for the girl to show up to a bachelor party.
“I wish he would have shown up that night to see if she was there, because she wouldn’t have been there. I wouldn’t have said a word to her,” said the stepfather about the arranged date.
On Thursday, the mother of the girl testified no one had ever approached her about anything strange going on and said she never saw anything inappropriate. Under cross-examination by Crown, the mother admitted someone living in their house asked about the bedroom activities between her daughter and the man. The Crown also asked if she could recall a day when the three of them were at the beach and a known prostitute yelled over to them that the man was prostituting her daughter. The mother responded that the prostitute was a “crazy bitch” and was only upset her common-law husband wouldn’t sell heroin to her.
“She was a crack-addicted hooker. I didn’t believe her,” said the mother.
Despite the mother admitting she is in love with the man and trusted him with her life, the court heard she would regularly ask her daughter if the stepfather was having sexual relations with her. She said it was mostly due to her own past sexual abuse as a child that she wanted to make sure her children were safe.
Crown counsel also provided transcripts from telephone calls the mother had with the man while he was behind bars at KRCC. In them, the stepfather told her when he gets out of jail he would tell her “the truth.” The mother told the court that she has nothing to forgive the man for because she knows the truth and that he hasn’t done anything. Crown pointed to one excerpt in the transcripts that seemed to indicate otherwise.
“When people ask me how I forgive you, it’s because I love you …” said the mother in the telephone transcripts.