Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Man acquitted of making teen work as escort

Notorious convicted sex offender

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He supplied her with alcohol, condoms, a suggested price list, an online ad and even his own home to have sex with older clients in exchange for cash.

Yet a Winnipeg man -- who happens to be a notorious convicted sex offender has been found not guilty of forcing a 17-year-old girl to work as an escort.

Kevin John Rose, 41, was acquitted of procuring following a trial this week. Provincial court Judge Tim Killeen called Rose's actions "disgraceful" but felt they didn't meet the Criminal Code definition of an offence.

Killeen said he'd have to have found Rose directly "induced or caused or had a persuasive effect" on the teen becoming an escort. The Crown has 30 days to file an appeal of his decision, if they choose.

So Rose, who has been a constant thorn in the side of justice officials for years, is back on the streets.

The teen was the only witness at the one-day trial, describing how she began exploring ways to make more money last spring. A friend introduced the girl to Rose during a meeting at the Polo Park Shopping Centre. That's where the idea of becoming an escort was first discussed.

Rose helped the girl get set up and provided the venue for her. She ultimately had sex with four or five men on one night, making about $450. Rose didn't take a cut, aside from money she had paid him to set up a profile on a popular local escort website.

However, the teen testified Rose convinced her to give it a try and even helped relax her by giving her alcohol and encouragement.

"I thought it'd be easy money, that I'd be OK with doing it," said the girl, who had just graduated from high school and was living with her parents and siblings in suburban Winnipeg.

Police ultimately got involved when her mother found the cash lying around and confronted the teen. She initially claimed it was from selling drugs, not wanting to admit the truth.

"I figured they'd be less mad. I was embarrassed that I had prostituted," she said.

Crown attorney Daniel Chaput argued Rose provided the teen with "all of the informational components she needed to become an escort" and said this was a classic case of grooming.

Killeen ultimately sided with defence lawyer Pam Smith, who suggested the girl may have taken a similar path even if Rose hadn't got involved.

"This is something she wanted to do. He didn't have to talk her into it," said Smith.

Rose is a technology expert who first made local headlines in 2007 when he was convicted of stalking an ex-girlfriend and tapping her phone conversations using specialized equipment. Rose was caught outside the woman's apartment.

He was back in the news in 2008 after being identified as the operator of a money-making website that featured girls as young as seven posing suggestively in skimpy clothing.

Police were initially unable to stop him because the disturbing images didn't appear to meet the definition of child pornography under Canadian law. However, Rose was convicted in 2011 of possessing more than 1,000 images of child pornography, earning him a 26-month sentence of time already served.

At the time of his most recent arrest, Rose was running his own business -- River City Furnace and Duct Cleaning -- that allowed him unfettered access to dozens of city homes for several years. That led investigators to retrace his steps to determine if anyone else may have been victimized. No other charges have been laid.

www.mikeoncrime.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 15, 2014 A5

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