Aug 2, 2012 / 5:00 am
The man accused of pimping out his teenage stepdaughter in Penticton last year denied ever sexually abusing her or forcing her into that lifestyle.
The accused, who cannot be named because of a publication ban to protect the victim, said the teenage girl made her own decision to become a prostitute because she liked making money to buy marijuana, energy drinks, bongs and pipes,
The emotional testimony was given Wednesday during the continuation of the trial in Penticton for the man facing charges including sexual exploitation, living on the avails of prostitution of a person under 18 and sexual interference of a person under 14.
He has been detained at the Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre since his arrest last July for allegedly prostituting the girl at a bus stop near Penticton’s Soupateria.
Witnesses for the crown gave evidence at the trial which began in May. The accused was the first to be questioned by defence lawyer James Pennington on Wednesday.
He described first coming in contact with his common law wife’s three children in Grand Prairie, Alberta about 14 years ago, when the victim was about 4.
The family moved to Penticton where he was busted for possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking. The two older children left home, and he and his wife and stepdaughter moved to Osoyoos.
The ranch home there quickly filled up with friends and other family members and he began growing 57 marijuana plants. He also attempted to open a convenience store and when that fell through worked driving a truck for a company near Kamloops.
Although the girl testified early in the trial that the sexual abuse began at the Osoyoos home when she was 12, he denied that was the case.
“My wife was over 400 pounds and sat in the house selling dope all day, so that never happened,” he said.
The family went to Edmonton for a time to care for his mother who was ill and he lost the store, the family then moved to Okanagan Falls.
Although witnesses said there were signs of sexual abuse in the home, he again said that was not the case.
“My daughter would crash on the king size bed in the bedroom, because she had school the next morning,” he said. “There was only conversation between us, nothing went on, I never had sex with her and never touched her inappropriately.”
At one point he broke down in tears saying he loved all of the children, even his stepson who hated him from the start, and talking about them brought up too many emotions.
At one point in Okanagan Falls he was selling cocaine for a woman who lived in the basement.
“My cocaine problem started when I was 20 in Edmonton,” he said. “And I have smoked marijuana every day since I was 12.”
It was in Edmonton, that the stepdaughter started showing up with all kinds of stuff, he said. He believes she started working as a prostitute on her own when the family moved to Vancouver then Surrey, because she was bringing home marijuana and energy drinks .
His suspicions were confirmed after the family moved back to Penticton and he and the victim went to Vancouver to pick up some heroin. He was involved in the drug deal when he heard a police officer call out his name. His stepdaughter, he said, was in the back of the cop car because she had been picked up for prostitution and had a drug pipe in her possession.
When they returned to Penticton, he thought it was the end of it, but claims the prostitution continued.
“Friends told me what she was doing, but I knew I couldn’t stop it and just wanted to make sure she was safe,” he said.
The reason the two were at the Soupateria every day was because he was selling heroin at the bus stop, he claimed.
During cross examination from crown counsel Wendy Kavanagh, he further denied that there was any sexual abuse when the victim was young and his involvement in the prostitution.
Claiming once again there was no truth to the fact that activities went on behind closed doors, because doors in the homes they lived in either did not close properly or were covered with a blanket..
As far as his dealings with Benjamin Wolfe, one of the reported Johns at the time, and the undercover police officer who talked with the accused about hiring the victim for a stag party, he said those were a case of her doing her own thing.
“I didn’t know if she was selling weed or prostituting,” he said. “I didn’t want to rat on her because I didn’t want to lose her. I lost my older stepdaughter, she moved out when she was 17.”
Repeatedly through the long day of testimony, he spoke of the victim being his best friend, who by the age of 17 was capable of making her own choices.
The trial before Judge Gregory Koturbash will continue Thursday.
Read more Penticton News
City of Penticton
Penticton Discussion Forum
Penticton & Wine Country Chamber
Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen
District of Summerland
Summerland Chamber & Tourism
Town of Oliver
Town of Osoyoos
Town of Keremeos
School District 67 - Okanagan Skaha
School District 53 - Okanagan Similkameen
- Something hatching in the Okanagan May 16
- Is Premier eyeing Penticton seat? May 15
- Ashton asks for extended leave from city May 15
- New leader for Penticton RCMP May 15
- Event for man who died in crash May 15