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Kelowna  

Seeking 4 years for pimp

A man could be spending several years behind bars for preying on young, vulnerable women through a prostitution ring he ran in Kelowna in 2015.

Simon Rypiak, 35, pleaded guilty to five charges relating to crimes against four women last February, a month and a half before he was set to face trial in Supreme Court, and his sentencing hearing was held Tuesday.

He met the first woman, who was 18 at the time, through the Plenty of Fish online dating site in early 2015. The young woman, referred to as D due to a publication ban that protects her identity, was unemployed at the time. Financial hardship was a common thread among all of Rypiak's victims.

While D was initially reluctant to work in the sex industry, he persuaded her into it by promising her a “glamorous, wealthy lifestyle,” and she began working for him in March 2015.

As an “initiation into the prostitution business,” Rypiak convinced D to have sex with his friend for $200 in a cabin in Lumby.

From there, Rypiak determined what services D would provide to clients, and what she would charge. He required her to earn $1,000 daily. D testified she earned about $100,000 over a seven-month period, much of which went to Rypiak.

After a few months, D helped Rypiak recruit new women to work as prostitutes for him. In July 2015, he met an 18-year-old, single mother in Moose Jaw, Sask., through Plenty of Fish, and they convinced her to move to Kelowna to work for him. After two or three days, and seeing 10 to 20 clients, she moved back home.

Rypiak met another 18-year-old woman on Plenty of Fish in early 2015 and convinced her to work as a prostitute. The young woman lived in the South Okanagan and was “struggling financially.” After he convinced her to perform oral sex on his friend for $120 as an “initiation,” she called her mother and went home. She never worked for Rypiak again.

Later that summer, in August, Rypiak and D met a 19-year-old Edmonton woman who was already working as a prostitute. Rypiak flew the woman, referred to as S, back to Kelowna, and she worked as a prostitute for him until September, giving 40 per cent of what she earned to Rypiak.

During a trip to Calgary with D and S in September, Rypiak got in an “physical altercation” with D, which Crown prosecutor Patricia O'Neil said was D's “final straw.”

D reported Rypiak to Kelowna RCMP on Sept. 27, 2015, and he was arrested and charged two days later in Kelowna. S also stopped working for Rypiak after she witnessed the incident in Calgary.

D's victim impact statement was read out in court Tuesday.

“The time I spent with the accused left me in an extremely unstable state, from which I am still recovering to this day,” she wrote. “I turned to alcohol and drugs in order to escape my fear and my memories. On several occasions, I tried to take my own life. I felt dirty and damaged.”

She added the trauma she experienced with Rypiak has left her depressed and anxious, and human contact has since triggered anxiety attacks.

“Science says that after seven years all your skin cells are destroyed and replaced. I cannot wait for the day when the accused will no longer have touched my body, or any other person who laid their hands on me during that time," she wrote.

Rypiak faces four counts of procuring, or persuading, a person to provide sexual services, and one count of benefiting from sexual services. 

As a result of a plea deal agreed upon by the Crown and defence late last year, a joint sentencing submission of four years was put forward. Justice Allan Betton is expected to make a decision on sentencing Wednesday.



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