Friday, February 19, 1999

Michelle Shephard

p. B3.

Hooker, 14, pleads guilty to breach of probation

She smiles shyly at her mother while leaving court

For almost two weeks the 14-year-old girl known on the streets as Kimberly has been in and out of courtrooms and detention centres, conversing with police and lawyers and getting attention she is unable to avert.

Police describe her as street savvy and mature but it was in a little girl's voice that she pleaded guilty to a breach of probation charge in juvenile court yesterday.

She will be sentenced March 3. Kimberly began working as a prostitute on the streets when she was 11 years old, police say. Her story was picked up by the media last week after a raid on a North York brothel where she had worked.

Police at Toronto's juvenile task force said help had been offered to Kimberly before her arrest. She had been under the care of the Children's Aid Society and closely monitored by police. City outreach worker also said they are familiar with Kimberly and had offered her support.

But despite intervention, Kimberly has stayed on the streets and recently moved indoors to escort services, where the girls are more difficult to monitor.

Last year, Kimberly was convicted of procuring another 14-year-old girl to become a prostitute and was sentenced to 45 days in a group home.

Before last week's arrest police had been looking for her since she ran away from the group home.

Police with juvenile task force said they are trying, together with the crown attorney, to organize a treatment program for Kimberly to deter her from going back on the streets or to her drug habit upon her release.

Kimberly's mother sat directly behind the 14-year-old in court yesterday. The teenager's grandmother was also present.

Kimberly was dressed in a black nylon Nike jacket and tights. Her short dyed blond hair was slicked behind her ears, her pale cheeks marked with acne. She did not look at her relatives until leaving the courtroom. As she left with her lawyer she glanced at her mother quickly then gave a shy smile. She will be returned to custody until her sentencing.

While in custody at the York Detention Centre last week Kimberly claimed she overdosed on cocaine.

A report issued this week by the Ministry of Social Services said the girl did not ingest cocaine at their facility.

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Created: March 7, 1999
Last modified: January 31, 2001
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