Woman who pimped out 14-year-old girl for $350 a night to older men loses appeal over sentencing
While speaking to a child psychologist, Monika Rachael Kelly revealed that she thought the victim was older than 16, but younger than 18 years
A single mother, Monika Rachael Kelly, who was sent to prison for pimping out a vulnerable and underage 14-year-old girl through a sugar daddy and sugar baby app has lost her appeal over her prison sentence.
The 21-year-old woman was jailed last December after she had a then 14-year-old girl sleep with much older men at Auckland hotels in New Zealand. Kelly had met the teenafullger through a mutual friend before pimping her out. Kelly was handed a two-and-a-half year sentence while her defense lawyer Ron Mansfield tried to argue for house arrest, as reported by the NZ Herald.
Mansfield made the appeal in February and was of the opinion that Kelly's young age, difficult background, and responsibilities had to be taken into consideration.
Mansfield had also argued that she would have many better prospects of rehabilitation if she was under house arrest versus jail. The Court of Appeal judges Justice Christine French, Robert Dobson, and Timothy Brewer rejected the appeal on the grounds of "need for deterrence and denunciation of such offending". However, all three of the judges revealed that the original sentence was "not an easy exercise".
The judge's decision read, "But it was one thoughtfully constructed where we have not found that any error occurred."
The teenager, who is currently 16 years old, had initially run away from home before meeting Kelly through a mutual friend. While the teen stayed with Kelly, the single mother decided to set up a profile for the girl on 'Seeking Arrangements' and lied about the teenager's age saying she was 18 or 19.
It was under this guise that the teenager was made to have sex with much older men at Auckland hotels and was able to earn around $350 in one night. The Ministry for Children Oranga Tamariki removed the teenager from Kelly's care while the police started to investigate Kelly in July 2017 before she was arrested.
While speaking to a child psychologist, Kelly shared that she thought the victim was older than 16 though younger than 18.
Justice Matthew Downs told Kelly in court, "I am sure you knew her real age after the first incident. I am not persuaded you are genuinely remorseful." The court documents also stated that Kelly had attempted to prevent witnesses from giving any evidence to the police while the investigation was going on.
Crown prosecutor Ben Finn accepted that Kelly had not coerced or threatened the teenager but did recognize that the teen was reluctant to participate. In her impact statement, the teenager shared that Kelly "took her in during a challenging time in her life and [was] exploiting her."