Man sexually exploited vulnerable teenager who was forced to have sex with four men in return for cash

A man who prostituted a vulnerable teenager in Wakefield to his friends and colleagues has escaped an immediate jail term.

By Nick Frame
Saturday, 19th September 2020, 11:45 am

Octavian Craciun would drive the girl to meet 'customers', and on one occasion she was forced to perform sex acts on four men in return for cash.

Leeds Crown Court heard Craciun, 25, of Dewsbury Road, Wakefield, admitted a charge of causing or inciting prostitution for financial gain.

Philip Standfast, prosecuting, said the female, who cannot be named for legal reasons, suffers from learning disabilities and had been living in supported accommodation at the time.

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Leeds Crown Court

A care worker contacted police in August 2017 and was concerned that the female, who was 17 at the time, had been befriended by two Romanian men and was being subjected to pressure to perform sex acts on other males.

When the police spoke with the girl, she told them she had been in a relationship with a man who worked at a car wash.

Mr Standfast added: "He had been exploiting her for sexual gratification for himself and his friends.

"She told the police he had since left the country and his friend (Craciun) had effectively stepped into his shoes. He told her he had men who wanted to see her.

"She would have to go with the men no matter what they looked like and how old they were."

The court was told the sex acts would take place in Craciun's car, he would receive the money and give the female half of the cash.

On one occasion, he picked her up from near the city's bus station and drove her to a car wash where she was expected to go with four men.

The court was told that on another occasion a 'customer' had become too forceful and Craciun intervened.

After being arrested, Craciun tried to distance himself from the teenager but was shown messages between the pair and admitted he would arrange for men to meet her for sex, but said he was only looking after her money.

Craciun, who has no previous convictions, initially denied a charge of inciting prostitution, but changed his plea to guilty at a later court hearing.

Rodney Ferm, mitigating, said: "This was sordid offending by the defendant which he accepts and regrets.

"He benefited from it financially, to a limited extent, but he is a hard-working young man who has kept out of trouble."

Judge Simon Baptiste told Craciun: "You have never been in trouble before but court always take a serious view of anyone who involves themselves in causing or inciting prostitution.

"You did not start the exploitation and I accept you are someone who has a job and works hard, but the victim was someone who has significant vulnerability issues."

Cracuin was given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and was ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work.