Teen pimp apologizes to her victims in Ottawa courtroom
Defence wants teenage girl to serve sentence in youth rather than adult system
An Ottawa teenage girl made a tearful apology in court to the girls she drugged, beat and forced into prostitution.
- Victims of teen pimp ring tell court they live in fear
- Teen pimp ringleader hearing details troubled youth
"No words could ever convey how solemnly sorry I am. I am far from perfect but I'm definitely not the same girl I was at 15," she said.
The teen was 15 when she was arrested in 2012 for leading a human trafficking operation with two other teens. She is now 18.
"I realize the pain I inflicted on my victims and their families was extremely wrong and I will forever live with the guilt and regret of my vile actions ... I pray, Your Honour, take a youth sentence into consideration because unlike before I have aspirations for my future and I'm striving to become a better person."
The teen — whose mother has worked as a prostitute and who lived in a home surrounded by drug use — is not a victim but a "product of her upbringing," her lawyer argued in court.
She was found guilty of beating, drugging and threatening other girls to force them into prostitution in January. Two other teens entered mid-trial guilty pleas in September 2013 for their roles in the violent pimping operation.
Crown wants adult sentence for teen pimp
The Crown argued the ringleader, now 18, should be sentenced as an adult for her crimes, which carry a mandatory minimum sentence of five years. Under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the teen would serve a maximum three-year sentence.
But defence lawyer Joshua Clarke argued Monday that if rehabilitation is the goal, "what is the point of putting her with life-long criminals."
The defence argued she should serve a three-year sentence in the youth system, but that she should not receive credit for time already served since her arrest.
The defence argued she is not the same teenager that she was at the time of her arrest. After only attending school 15 days in her Grade 9 year, she has achieved excellent grades during her time in custody and has almost completed enough courses for her high school diploma, the defence said.
Justice Diane Lahaie is expected to deliver her sentence on November 4.
Court hears of teen's troubling youth
The trial, which began in April 2013, heard from three teenage girls who were forced to perform sex acts and hand over the money they earned. One of those girls was 13 years old when she was delivered to a john during what she thought was a sleepover with friends.
Four other teens testified about a range of experiences, including being recruited online to sell their bodies. One teen described how the ringleader took nude photos of her with a cellphone when she was too drunk to move in a bathtub.
During the ringleader's sentencing hearing, court heard of her troubling youth, including a history of aggression and bullying at an early age.
Dr. Gregory Motayne, a specialist in youth violence, detailed his findings of a psychological assessment.
He said the teen has physically bullied children since Grade 1, and that by Grade 6, one of her victims had contemplated suicide.
He also detailed how at eight years old, she and her nine-year-old sister allegedly held down a five-year-old boy and made sexual contact.
He said substance abuse affected how the teen treated her victims. She began drinking alcohol at 12 and smoking marijuana at 14, he said.