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Teens take stand at child porn trial

Brandon Court House

BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

Brandon Court House

Warning: The following story contains details that some readers may find disturbing.

A young woman took the stand Tuesday and testified that, when she was 15 years old, a man she thought of as "grandpa" plied her with liquor and shot photos of her and her friend in the nude.

That was more than two years ago, but those photos still noticeably shocked her yesterday when she viewed them in court during the trial of a man accused of making and possessing child porn.

"Oh my God," she said as Crown attorney Rich Lonstrup reviewed them with her in Brandon Court of Queen’s Bench.

A 76-year-old man is accused of taking pictures of two 15-year-old girls in various stages of undress at his trailer in November 2011. Ten of those photos are deemed child porn by police — some show the girls with their breasts exposed, and in others they’re naked.

The Brandon Sun isn’t naming the accused to ensure that the identities of the girls are protected as required by court order.

The man’s trial began on Monday as a former photo shop employee testified that he’d found the digital pictures in a self-serve photo kiosk after the accused had used it to make prints.

Images downloaded by customers were stored in the machines, and the former employee said he found the pictures when he went to delete images during routine maintenance.

The digital pics were printed and handed over to police.

On Tuesday, both of the girls in the photos, each now 18, took the stand. Both of their videotaped statements to police, made shortly after the pictures were taken, were played in court.

What follows is their account based on their testimony and statements.

Both girls are Spanish-speaking immigrants, and one said the accused had always been friendly to the Spanish-speaking community.

One of the girls had met the man about a year-and-a half before the photos were taken. He’d visit her family every day, and had been nice to her and her family.

The accused knew how old she was, the girl said — her family couldn’t afford to buy her a dress for her important 15th birthday celebration, so he bought her a pink one.

She recalled how the man she thought of as a "grandfather" had danced with her at her birthday party.

It was that girl who introduced the accused to the second girl who testified that she’d told the accused she was 15 when they first met in the summer of 2011.

The girls described how the accused would offer to be their friend, drive them and offer to get them alcohol. But some of his behaviour was disturbing — he’d ask one of the girls if he could take revealing photos of her, which she declined, and asked the other inappropriate sexual questions.

On Nov. 28, 2011, the girls left school to go to one of their homes for lunch, and they called the accused for a ride back.

But, instead of driving to school, all three went to the man’s trailer park home where he poured the girls drinks of whiskey and rum.

Once drunk, the girls agreed to the man’s requests for them to take off their clothes and he snapped a series of pictures of them with a digital camera.

He never touched the girls, but suggested poses for them. In a couple of pictures the topless girls are laying in bed together.

One of the girls said the accused had told them he would buy them laptop computers if they took off their clothes. He also promised to delete the pictures after they left, and after the incident he drove them home.

According to the testimony of the former photo shop employee, it was later that same day that the accused went to the store to make prints.

The day after that, shortly before his arrest, the accused bought one of the girls a laptop as promised.

The trial is to continue today and Thursday.

» ihitchen@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @IanHitchen

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition April 16, 2014

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Warning: The following story contains details that some readers may find disturbing.

A young woman took the stand Tuesday and testified that, when she was 15 years old, a man she thought of as "grandpa" plied her with liquor and shot photos of her and her friend in the nude.

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Warning: The following story contains details that some readers may find disturbing.

A young woman took the stand Tuesday and testified that, when she was 15 years old, a man she thought of as "grandpa" plied her with liquor and shot photos of her and her friend in the nude.

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