Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Canadian Press

Girl, 11, forced into prostitution, court hears

But details in testimony don't check out, defence argues

VANCOUVER (CP) — A videotaped statement by an 11-year-old American girl played in court Tuesday morning described how she was drugged and forced to work on Vancouver's notorious kiddie hooker stroll.

But in the afternoon, a defence lawyer for one of the accused men poked holes in the police videotape, the only evidence against the three Americans from Portland, Ore.

Jabari McCrory, 26, David Martin Walker, 25, and Mistenda Mae Carter, 24, are charged with abduction of a minor under the age of 14, living off the avails of prostitution, sexual interference and assault.

Provincial court Judge William Kitchen is hearing the case without a jury and is yet to decide whether the videotaped statement will be admissible.

In the tape, the girl, also from Portland, said she was made to work as a prostitute for up to 12 hours a day during her four-day ordeal in Vancouver.

She told the police she crossed the border with two men, a woman and the woman's two-year-old son last February under the guise of attending a wedding in the Vancouver suburb of Richmond.

The girl also said the trio told her before the trip that there was easy money to be made in prostitution in Vancouver.

"They thought I was 16," she said of the accused. "I told them and I looked older. I told them that I can go make the money and I've done it before."

She told police she met one of the men in a mall about two weeks before the trip and agreed to go along because she was a runaway who had already worked the streets.

In her taped statement, the girl said she was given caffeine pills, the rave drug ecstasy, LSD, marijuana and other drugs to keep her working around the clock. She said she obtained some of the drugs from a "trick."

"I would get an hour, an hour-and-a-half breaks," she said. "I worked from 12 o'clock in the afternoon until 12 o'clock at night or 3 o'clock in the morning until 3 o'clock in the afternoon."

She told police and a social worker that she had slept for a total of four hours during the four days she was in Vancouver last February.

But defence lawyer Ian Donaldson said records from U.S. border authorities show that the car the group used to drive to Vancouver crossed the border just 30 hours before the videotaped statement, not four days.

Donaldson argued it was impossible for many of the events the girl said occurred to actually have happened because of the short time she'd been in Vancouver.

He also said it was unlikely she could have been credible if she had been drugged and sleep-deprived as she claimed during her taped statement.

Donaldson quizzed Vancouver police Det. Raymond Payette about why police did not corroborate the majority of what the girl told them during the videotaped interview.

He noted the girl told police that the group had stayed in four hotels, however, police had a receipt for only one hotel.

The 11-year-old also said that she was given a pager so the men could keep tabs on her.

But Donaldson said the two pagers bought in Beaverton, Ore. — on a day the girl said the group was in Vancouver — were not capable of working in Canada.

"I didn't test the pagers," Payette replied when asked if police had checked their frequencies.

Donaldson also said police did not get any information on the girl from the FBI or the Oregon state police about whether she had a criminal record there even though she told them she had worked as a prostitute in her home state.

In untaped conversations for about four hours before the taped statement, the girl also told police that there was a gun in the trunk of the car but Donaldson said that none was found when the three adults were arrested.

The girl, who is seen sitting on a couch while two police officers interview her, spoke in a deep, relaxed voice. She appears much older than her 11 years and is well versed in the lingo of the prostitution world.

Crown prosecutor Henry Reiner said regardless of her sophistication or whether she had voluntarily worked the streets in Vancouver, the girl was still only 11.

"I think to a certain extent, to a large extent, it was voluntary but that she's still a child and we do have requirements that children should not be exploited," Reiner said outside court.

"I don't care what these people say," he said after Donaldson questioned Payette. "She's a young, vulnerable girl who's been abused all her life."

The girl said she was provided with fake identification that showed her to be 26 years old in case Canadian border officials asked for it.

She also said she was told by one of the men that she was expected to make a total of $4,000 during the Vancouver trip. She said she had earned $800 before police picked her up.

"Were you ever instructed what to wear?" Payette asked on the videotape.

"Kind of, yes," says the girl. "I was told to wear short tops and (an accused) was making sure it was sexy and revealing."

In her often contradictory statement, the girl called the two men "my pimps" and also said that she would "double date" with the accused woman.

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Created: July 13, 2001
Last modified: July 13, 2001
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