“He told me he had spoken to her mother and he wanted her to know that she was working for a reputable company”, the former office manager at Liaisons Escorts and Entertainment testified Wednesday.
The woman, who can’t be identified because of a court order, said the accused told her he had sent the 26-year-old woman to Vancouver, set her up in a hotels and had lined up four or five dates for her on the day she died.
“He said he talked to her at 7 p.m and the next day he found out she was dead”, she told Crown prosecutor David Torske of a December 2002 conversation the two had at his Kennsington apartment.
“He said she was on the 22nd floor of this hotel and jumped. He said she really must have needed to get out.”
The woman told the court she felt the accused pressured the other woman into becoming an escort. She has previously worked as a server in an exotic dance club and was originally hired to be a receptionist.
“He kept bringing up the option of escorting. He kept telling her, ‘See how the other girls are making money, you could be making this too’.”
Torske asked: “So you felt uncomfortable with the degree of encouragement from the accused?”
“Yes”, she replied, explaining that while she became an escort at 18, she was well aware of what she was getting into. She said the accused rosy portrayal of the sex-for-money business made her equally uncomfortable.
“He made it seem more Pretty Woman than anything else. He made it seem like it was more than going to a hotel room and having sex – and it wasn’t.
She said the accused , whom she considered a friend, also encouraged her into approaching other young, attractive women to get them to work for him.
“I felt uncomfortable. I felt they would never have done this. I felt like we were leading them into something.”
She said once the accused talked to her about the suicide, she knew she wanted out of the business.
“That was kind of the end of anything I wanted to do wit him. The story seemed to be getting worse, so I went to police shortly after that.”
The accused was arrested for the first time on Oct. 26, 2002, after police received a public complaint about Liaisons and the fact escorts were involved in the business of sex for money.
“He was blasé about the charges, but he was angry at the girls that had gone to police,” she said, explaining she talked to him shortly after his arrest as he was trying to restart his business.
His lawyer, Pat Fagan, is asking Justice Patrick Sullivan to stay all of the charges against his 40-year-old client – which include living on the avails of prostitution and keeping a bawdy-house – because he contends the city has legitimized prostitution by licensing escorts and the agencies they work for.
The trial resumes Monday.