By Brian Caldwell for therecord.com on May 13, 2014—
“A man accused of human trafficking involving a teenage girl pleaded guilty Monday to significantly reduced charges.
Remington Needham, 22, was initially said to have lured the 17-year-old to a Cambridge hotel and used her as a prostitute.
But their relationship was cast in a different light after the Kitchener man admitted only to possession of money made through prostitution and three breaches of his bail terms.
Court heard the two were actually a couple and that the teen had worked as a prostitute, starting when she was 16, long before meeting Needham.
Although he helped her arrange meetings with men at the Super 8 on Hespeler Road, he wasn’t the driving force behind the operation or in control of the money.
Defence lawyer Stephanie Krug said the teen – whose identity is protected by court order – has “impressive business acumen,” isn’t a drug addict and liked making up to $1,000 a day.
“He wasn’t directing her to do anything,” she said.
Needham, who grew up in foster care and does have a drug problem, was sentenced to the equivalent of 18 months in jail and two years on probation.
The joint recommendation by defence and Crown lawyers took into account the nature of the relationship, as well as the fact Needham was an adult who should have tried to stop the teen instead of helping her.
“As a society, we have drawn a line,” said prosecutor Fraser McCracken.
Police got involved in November because the teen looked young in an online advertisement for an escort.
When an officer knocked on the door of her hotel room, she answered it. Needham was also in the room with $400 she had made so far that day.
In a statement to police, the teen said there was “a sleeping bed and a working bed” in the room, where three prohibited knives were found in a safe.
Despite a no-contact order as part of his release on bail, Needham was caught living with the teen in Waterloo a few months later while he worked in construction.
The teen still wants to get back together with him even after regular contact with police and social workers since his arrest.
Justice Elliott Allen reluctantly allowed contact during Needham’s probation term, but only with the approval of a probation officer and the teen’s written consent.
With credit for time already spent in custody, Needham has just over a year in jail left to serve.
Charges of human trafficking and living off the avails of prostitution were withdrawn by McCracken.”
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