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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, August 30, 2001

Woman accused of prostituting daughter

By Walter Wright
Advertiser Staff Writer

A former Big Island woman has been accused in Florida of having her 13-year-old daughter prostitute herself to get money for a crack cocaine habit they shared.

The woman, who lived in Pahoa and Pepe'ekeo from 1998 until she was reported missing last January, faces two charges of child abuse and neglect in Florida.

The Advertiser is not reporting the woman's name to protect the identity of the daughter.

Big Island Police Capt. James Day said the woman's husband reported her missing, and that police here closed the Hawai'i missing persons case in April after she was found in Florida and interviewed by police there.

Lee County sheriff's deputies were alerted to the situation Tuesday while investigating a burglary of the home of a man who allegedly failed to pay the woman for sex. Police said the daughter told an investigator that her mother gave her drugs and made her available for sex with men to get drug money.

Sgt. Sheila Brooks, who helped investigate the case, said the girl did not willingly participate.

"(The mother) would offer her daughter to men for a certain amount of time; the child had no choice," Brooks said.

Mother and daughter smoked more than $800 worth of crack cocaine the week before the arrest, the child told investigators. The girl said they had been using the drug together since they moved to Florida in January.

Joanne Kowalski, director of a Florida center for rape victims, said it was "horrifying that a mother could satisfy her own needs in such a devastating way."

The woman remained in Lee County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail while authorities sought long-term care and counseling for the daughter. The girl was staying with other relatives.

The Florida state Department of Children and Families took custody of the woman's 1-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son, authorities said.

Reach Walter Wright at wwright@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8054.