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This article was published 16/11/2017 (759 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
For years, a 44-year-old Winnipeg duct-cleaner preyed on foster children, chronic runaways and vulnerable girls who had drug addictions or mental-health issues. He used them, recruited them into the sex industry and paid them to feed their addictions.
On Thursday, Winnipegger Kevin John Rose was sentenced to 21 years in prison for sexually exploiting and abusing six victims, including five underage girls, one of whom killed herself during the prosecution of his criminal case.
He pleaded guilty to 19 criminal offences for sexually abusing, grooming and manipulating each of the girls — some of whom he met on Facebook — "in a planned, premeditated and business-like way," between 2013 and 2015 provincial court Judge Dale Harvey said as he imposed the sentence.
Rose, who was already a convicted sex offender by the time these crimes ended up in court, advertised some of the victims on an online escort website, instructed them on how to meet johns and secretly videotaped them, keeping a child-pornography collection with thousands of images. He gave them money, alcohol and drugs, told them to lie about their ages and continued to find ways to send them messages even while he was in jail and bound by court orders prohibiting contact.
"I daresay any member of the law-abiding public would be appalled upon learning of what he did to these children, especially in the context of his previous offending," Harvey said.
Crown prosecutors Katie Dojack and Daniel Chaput had asked for a 21-year sentence, and the judge agreed. Rose's defence lawyer, Pam Smith, had suggested 12 to 14 years in prison. The judge said Thursday Rose will serve 17 years and five months after being given some credit for more than two years he's already spent behind bars on these charges.
"Kevin Rose perpetuated their horrific circumstances, so while the Crown's sentence recommendation may have been shocking to some, others may have seen it as apt," the judge said.
One of the victims was a 15-year-old foster child when she met Rose, who "orchestrated" her involvement in the sex trade, court heard. When she was 17, shortly after meeting with Crown prosecutors to discuss Rose's case in July 2016, the girl killed herself. Her older sister had also killed herself after being sexually exploited.
"While we will never truly know, it is no stretch of the imagination or logic to believe that the offender's behaviour was at least a contributing factor in the suicide," the judge said.
In a victim impact statement filed in court, the girl's social worker wrote that while suicide is no one's fault, it likely wouldn't have happened if the teen hadn't been sexually exploited.
Rose has a long history of sexual offences and continued to run his duct-cleaning business even while he was in jail on earlier charges. Upon his arrest in 2015, Rose remarked to the police that they didn't have the best witnesses to take the stand against him at trial, Crown prosecutor Dojack said during Rose's sentencing hearing in September.
In recordings of Rose's phone calls while he was in jail at Milner Ridge Correctional Centre, he is heard denigrating his victims, saying of one: "maybe she'll OD and someone will dump her in the river."
During a jailhouse phone call with a 16-year-old victim prior to his sentencing hearing, Rose seemed indifferent about spending more time behind bars."I’m not that worried about it. Time is nothing… you’re still going to be around, you’re still going to be young… it’s not like the world’s ending," he was heard saying in a recording played in court.
"It was submitted that the rehabilitation of this offender is possible, that when he was last convicted of similar offences, he was not offered any programming, and that he is eager to access programming in a penitentiary. For the sake of the public generally and children specifically, I truly hope that is the case," Harvey said, expressing doubt that Rose "is truly willing to embrace" rehabilitation.
Katie May reports on courts, crime and justice for the Free Press.
Updated on Thursday, November 16, 2017 at 6:50 PM CST: Adds photo