Tuesday, March 30, 1999

Sarah Green

p. 12 News.

Judge praises teen hooker

'Very impressed' with her efforts to reform

A 14-year-old prostitute was spared further punishment yesterday by a youth court judge who said she was "impressed" with the teen's recent efforts to get her life on track.

"Kimberly" pleaded guilty last month to failing to comply with probation. She served 49 days in custody before yesterday's sentencing decision.

Judge Lynn King ruled Kimberly will live in a group home and undergo counselling as well as drug treatment.

Since her arrest, court heard, Kimberly has had counselling, enrolled in school and sought work as a telemarketer.

Ran away

"I don't see the point in being unoptimistic and cynical," King said. "It seems to me I ought to say to (Kimberly), I'm very impressed with what you've done."

Kimberly was sentenced last November to 45 days in open custody and 12 months probation for procuring another teenage girl into prostitution. She ran away from the group home a few weeks later and was arrested Feb. 9.

Kimberly, a ward of the Children's Aid Society, will serve the remaining seven months of her probation, but King added no new conditions.

Kimberly should not be blamed for her troubles, which are "the fault of all the adults around her who did not live up to the basic expectations as caregivers," King said.

Defence lawyer Mavin Wong said Kimberly's family history is an "unstable" one, marked by emotional, physical and sexual abuse.

Stole ring

Kimberly was just 12 when she first got into trouble with the law for stealing a $1.25 ring in Stratford.

In the 49 days since her arrest, Wong said Kimberly has learned not to run away from the problems, but face them. "(Kimberly) tells me she feels better than she's ever felt before," Wong said.

Kimberly's mom and other family members who were in court yesterday refused comment outside, saying they were tired of the media coverage. "That's my little girl in there they're talking about," her mother said.

Crown attorney Barboura Ferns had asked for an open-custody sentence of up to six months, saying it's the only way to ensure Kimberly gets the help she needs.

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Created: March 28, 2000
Last modified: January 31, 2001
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