Four men have been convicted of prostituting a 16-year-old runaway girl from Brighton.
Sussex Police said that it was the first prosecution in the county for child sexual exploitation by a group.
As a result four men have been convicted and face a stretch in prison when they are sentenced on Monday (30 March).
All four denied forcing the girl in prostitution but were found guilty yesterday (Friday 27 March) after a three-week trial at Hove Crown Court. They were
- Stephen Daramola, 48, of Park Lane, Eastbourne
- Mohammed Kamali, 46, of Harper Rd, Newhaven
- Khosrow Sobhanieh, 56, of North Lane, Guestling, near Hastings
- Christopher Kayla-Joseph, 27, of Elphick Road, Newhaven
Daramola was convicted of causing or inciting a 16-year-old child into prostitution, supplying cocaine and sexual assault.
Kamali was convicted of causing or inciting a 16-year-old child into prostitution and supplying cocaine.
Sobhanieh was convicted of conspiring to incite a 16-year-old child into prostitution, one offence of rape and one of attempted rape.
Kayla-Joseph was convicted of conspiring to incite a 16-year-old child into prostitution and two offences of supplying cocaine.
They were charged last May after a 12-month investigation.
Judge Richard Hayward remanded the four men in custody for sentencing at Hove on Monday afternoon (30 March).
Two other men were acquitted by the jury at Hove.
- Khalid Del-Rosario, 45, of Upperton Road, Eastbourne, was found not guilty of conspiring to incite a 16-year-old child into prostitution, sexual assault and being concerned in the supply of cocaine.
- Giuseppe Carella, 19, of Brighton Road, Newhaven, was found not guilty of conspiring to incite a 16-year-old child into prostitution, rape and being concerned in the supply of cocaine.
Detective Chief Inspector Mark O’Brien said: “This is a landmark case, sending a clear message that anyone who sets out to exploit vulnerable young people in this way can expect to be subject to investigation and can be brought to justice.
“We also wish to pay tribute to the girl herself, whose evidence, resolutely given with the help of special measures including a screen protecting her from the defendants’ view, was key in ensuring this outcome.
“We also thank the Crown Prosecution Service, and prosecution counsel Richard Barton, for their hard work and the professional and compelling way in which the case was presented.”
The girl, who was 16 years old when the offences were committed, has since turned 18.
Sussex Police said: “The young, impressionable and vulnerable girl’s ordeal started in Eastbourne one evening in May 2013 when she was sitting alone in a street, having made her way there by bus after a family disagreement at her Brighton home.
“Kayla-Joseph spotted her, engaged her in conversation and invited her back to his flat in Newhaven where he had sexual intercourse with her.
“There, when she visited on several separate occasions over the next two weeks, Kayla-Joseph and then the five other men, all but one far older than her, ruthlessly exploited her for their own sexual purposes, plying her with drink and drugs, and one occasion cash was paid for her sexual services.
“On a final occasion she was taken round the corner to Kamali’s flat in Harper Road where the same happened.
“Soon afterwards the girl disclosed what had happened to health workers and to her family. Police were immediately informed and the men were swiftly arrested.”