Toronto man accused of luring girl, 16, for 'sexual services'
Published Tuesday, June 28, 2016 6:12PM EDT Last Updated Tuesday, June 28, 2016 6:52PM EDT
A Toronto man accused of luring an underage girl for the purpose of prostitution testified Tuesday he did not believe the sex worker in question when she told him she was 16.
Mohammad Sarchami, 32, testified in a Newmarket courtroom that he had been texting with about six sex workers on Oct. 28, 2014, including someone he referred to as "Sexy Kathy."
Crown attorney Kellie Hutchinson read out a text message conversation between Sarchami and the woman identified as Kathy. At one point, Kathy tells Sarchami, "Just so you know I'm a bit younger than 18. The last client got mad. I wasn't honest right away, so I'm gonna tell you straight."
"Wow, then how much is your underage rate, babe?" Sarchami replied.
"It depends on what you want. I'm 16, but I turn 17 soon," she said.
"How about BBFS hun?" he replied.
(BBFS stands for "bare back full service," or unprotected intercourse.)
"$120," he was told.
"Wow, you are really young," Sarchami texted back. "Can you make it 100 dollars?"
Sarchami testified that when he said, "Wow, you are really young," he was not expressing surprise, but rather sarcasm, given he did not believe she was actually that young.
He said the reason he was asking for the price for unprotected intercourse was to test whether she was actually underage.
"And then when she's saying 120, to me it's a completely -- it means that she's not even close to 24 or 25. She's much older than that," Sarchami testified. He said his past experiences with sex workers — "thousands" of inquiries he had made in the past -- in which he set up appointments for unprotected intercourse, unprotected felatio and, in one incident, argued with some pimps regarding price.
"So you think she's much older based on the price," Hutchinson said.
"Based on the price and the service she's offering for that price," Sarchami said.
Sarchami was arrested as part of Project Rafael -- an initiative by York Regional Police where vice officers targeted johns looking to buy sex from underage prostitutes.
Kathy, as it turned out, was not a legal sex worker or a prostituted child. She was an undercover police officer. When Sarchami arrived at a Markham hotel expecting sexual services, he was arrested.
Sarchami testified that he thought she was a liar, that she might even rob him.
"It was still your intention to have sexual services and pay for them, correct?" Hutchinson said.
"Sexual services, but not with someone under 18," Sarchami replied.
"At that point, I had a 50-50 in my mind that who I'm talking (to) could be a pimp or could have been another girl or something like that," he said. "Because I had an experience before where a pimp actually offered an underage girl, I was thinking most likely, this is a pimp."
Sarchami conceded that he did not push “Sexy Kathy” for more details about her age — he did not ask what year she was born or whether she went to school, for example.
"And you didn't say things like, 'Well, you better not be under 18 because I know that's illegal and I won't have sex with you if you're under 18,'" Hutchinson said.
Justice Peter Tetley interjected.
"Why didn't you say when she represented that she was underage, 'I'm not interested because it's illegal?'" Tetley asked.
"If I believe that she's underage, I would stop it right away," Sarchami said. "I would stop it right at that point, but because at the very beginning, I didn't believe she was underage, so we continue."
Almost all escorts lie, Sarchami testified.
"What is it other than price that led you to believe that you weren't dealing with a 16- or 17-year-old and what guarantee was there that a 16- or 17-year-old or her pimp might not offer a low price?" Tetley asked.
"It come to my mind that she's lying about everything or whoever is behind this is lying about everything. And that makes me believe that they're just trying to attract me based on her age," Sarchami said. "With the services that she gave me, with the price for the services that she offered, I understand that she's not underage."
Had “Sexy Kathy” been a real sex worker and had she appeared to be under 18 when that hotel door opened, he would have asked for identification, he said.
Closing arguments are scheduled for October.