Mother guilty of prostituting girl

Annapolis woman sold sex with daughter, 16, for cash and drugs

June 13, 2008|By Nicole Fuller | Nicole Fuller,Sun reporter

The teenage girl lived most of her life with her grandmother on a quiet Anne Arundel County street not far from the bay. She practiced her dance routines on the front lawn and swam in the in-ground pool in the backyard.

But at 16 the girl left it all behind for an apartment in an Annapolis public housing community and a chance to be with her mother - a woman, prosecutors said, who forced her daughter into prostitution for cash and drugs.

"We need it for the family for food," the 34-year-old mother told her daughter, before arranging for her to have sex with a 59-year-old man on their living room couch, according to charging documents.

A year after the girl turned in her mother to police, the woman was convicted yesterday in Anne Arundel Circuit Court of one count of prostitution. The woman, whom The Sun is not naming in order to protect the identity of the victim, entered an Alford plea, which allows her to deny guilt but concede that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict her. She was handed a five-year suspended sentence and five years of supervised probation.

Judge William C. Mulford II also ordered her to register as a sex offender for 10 years, complete parenting classes and a drug and alcohol treatment plan, and have no contact with the victim without the girl's permission. Her two younger daughters by another man are in the custody of the county Department of Social Services. The woman has been on home detention in Prince George's County since April, two months after her arrest.

"To say what you've done in this case is reprehensible is an understatement, and, quite frankly, the last thing your daughter needs to do is re-live the memories. After what you've done to her, it's the least you can do," Mulford said, referring to the plea. "She's going to live with this for quite some time."

Dressed in a baggy, faded black T-shirt and blue jeans, the woman declined to comment after the hearing. The woman's defense attorney, Thomas F. Ellis III, said the punishment levied against his client will be "of great benefit to her."

Prosecutor Frank J. Ragione told the court that the victim is moving on with her life.

"She would have done what she had to do if necessary, but she was very happy to resolve this matter," Ragione said.

In an interview with The Sun earlier this year, the victim said, "All I ever wanted was my mother and father to love me like I was their child. My mother never loved me like she loved her other children. ... If I didn't do anything for her, I was useless to her."

According to several family members, the mother had been unable to raise the girl because of her own drug addiction and other problems.

The girl's maternal grandmother took her in at age 3 to her single-story rancher in Cape St. Claire. Growing up, she got good grades, joined a dance team and began modeling and acting. She had a bit part in The Invasion, a Nicole Kidman movie filmed in Baltimore.

But teenage friction with her grandmother over rules and a strong desire to be closer with her mother pushed the then-16-year-old to move in early 2007 to the Annapolis housing project where her mother and two younger half-sisters lived.

The mother soon set her up with the 59-year-old man, who repeatedly paid $150 to the girl and $50 to the mother for arranging encounters in the apartment or in the bathroom of a neighbor's apartment, according to charging documents.

"After the first time I was crying and shaking," the girl said, according to charging documents. "My mom gave me a line of coke to calm me down. I made my mom do it first because I was worried it would kill me or something. She did a line and then I did one. She told me it would be OK."

She also had sex with a 24-year-old man who paid with crack cocaine, according to charging documents.

The abuse continued from February until June 2007, when the teenager told her father's girlfriend, and they went to police.

The mother was arrested in an early-morning bust at her apartment in February and charged with child abuse, sexual solicitation of a minor and prostitution. She was held at the county jail for two months and has since been staying with a friend in Lanham on home detention.

The teen, meanwhile, has struggled.

Now 17 and living with her maternal grandmother again, she and her relatives said in interviews that she has been in and out of psychiatric treatment centers in Maryland and Texas, where she now lives.

nicole.fuller@baltsun.com

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