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Updated: Wed, 29 Jan 2014 11:17:05 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Accused teen ringleader guilty of prostitution charges



Accused teen ringleader guilty of prostitution charges

An Ottawa teen accused of beating, drugging and threatening other girls to force them into prostitution has been found guilty of several charges following a long trial.

Justice Diane Lahaie started delivering the verdict in an Ottawa courtroom around 9:45 a.m. ET Wednesday, going one-by-one through 33 charges in a process that was expected to take about two hours.

So far, the 17-year-old has been found guilty of one count of procurement for the purpose of prostitution, human trafficking, making child pornography, sexual assault, child luring, uttering threats and unlawful confinement, among other charges.

The court took a quick a break to allow the accused to compose herself after she broke down in tears, according to the CBC's Laurie Fagan.

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The girl was 15 when she was arrested in June 2012 as the alleged ringleader of a violent pimping operation.

The alleged ringleader pleaded not guilty to 33 charges, including human trafficking, making child pornography and assault, at the outset of the trial in April 2013.

The Crown said it planned to pursue an adult sentence for the teen, now 17, if she was found guilty. It's unclear which verdicts would lead to that.

2 others switched pleas to guilty

In September, two other teen girls entered mid-trial guilty pleas for their alleged roles.

None of the accused can be named under provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

During the trial, three girls, between 13 and 17 years old at the time, described how they were delivered to johns and forced to hand over earnings for performing sex acts. 

Four other girls testified about their experiences. One described being photographed naked in a bathtub when she was too drunk to move.

The Crown did not pursue adult sentences for the two teen girls who pleaded guilty.

1 more sentencing to come

The youngest, who was 15 at the time of her arrest, pleaded guilty to three counts of human trafficking involving three girls, one count of making child pornography, one count of luring and one count of robbery.

The now 17-year-old was sentenced to the maximum three years in jail.

The oldest, 16 at the time of her arrest, pleaded guilty to one count of each human trafficking, robbery, uttering threats and breaching conditions. 

Lahaie rejected a joint sentencing submission from the Crown and defence that suggested the teen be released with 12 months of time served and two years of probation.

The teen will undergo a psychological assessment before her sentencing. She is now 18.

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