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Prostitution victim's mom: 'She could make him some money'

Cary Ashby • Jun 2, 2011 at 11:20 PM

An underage prostitution victim told a 57-year-old suspected pimp "she could make him money," her mother said.

The mother was recalling a monitored conversation between her daughter, who was 15 at the time, and the defendant, Yathurn A. Furqan. Huron County Sheriff's Capt. Bob McLaughlin recorded four of the conversations, but was unable to make recordings of two of them due to an admitted technical error on the investigator's part.

"He was coming to Wakeman to come get my child to make money off her," the mother said in court Thursday.

McLaughlin had the victim call Furqan on July 17 under false pretenses to have him drive from Columbus to Wakeman to collect $1,200 the girl said she had made as a prostitute. The victim testified she told Furqan he could use the money to get two adult prostitutes out of jail who had been arrested in Columbus.

Furqan, of Columbus, is charged with compelling prostitution, punishable by one to five years in prison.

"He thought I had other girls for him," the victim said about what she led Furqan to believe by driving to Wakeman.

Defense attorney Tom Nicholson, while questioning McLaughlin, said his client initially didn't want to drive to Wakeman.

"I've got better things to do. Are you kidding me?," said Nicholson, quoting Furqan in what Nicholson said were 51 calls between his client and the victim.

"But he came up," McLaughlin said. "You don't have to accept the calls; you could hang up."

Going to Columbus

The victim, now 16, returned to the stand Thursday for Nicholson. The victim first testified for Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler on Tuesday, the first day of the bench trial.

On July 14, the victim befriended two prostitutes, Toni "Tori" Sparks, 26, and Ruby Chelidize, 30, at an Akron hotel while smoking cigarettes. The Wakeman girl was there with her boyfriend after they had been kicked out of his parents' Copley house for smoking marijuana. The prostitutes and girl eventually traveled to Columbus with Furqan.

Sparks, Chelidize and the victim testified that Furqan dropped them off at truck stops between Akron and Columbus and then again later on Sullivan Avenue in Columbus to solicit johns for sexual activity.

"How many men did you have sex with in Columbus?," Nicholson asked the victim Thursday.

"Six," the victim said, repeating her testimony for the state Tuesday when she said she entered six vehicles.

"He wanted me to go out and get more (johns)," the girl said, referring to Furqan's wishes.

'My crazy story'

One of the adult prostitutes, Sparks, said she tried to get the victim to stay in Akron. Sparks also said she never heard Furqan discourage the victim from going to Columbus.

"She knew she was going up there to work ... to catch dates," she said.

The victim said she and Chelidize came up with a story about being acquaintances with Chelidize's brother because Furqan didn't want to travel with people he doesn't know and also didn't to "get stung" by police. The victim said she simply wanted to "get away" after having an argument with her boyfriend.

"I did something stupid and went away. ... My plan was just to get away," the girl said.

When she told her mother about what happened in Columbus, she said her mother had a problem "believing my crazy story."

"She did not believe any of it because of how wild and crazy it was," the victim said.

Getting roped in

Malissia Hall, 27, of Columbus, met Furqan on July 16 at his cousin's Springfield house when Hall was there to get drugs. She was in the car when Furqan started receiving calls from the victim about coming to Wakeman. She said Furqan supplied her with crack cocaine and a crack pipe that day.

"He wanted me to go ride around with him, not knowing I'd work for him," said Hall, who earlier had heard about Furqan through word on the streets. "I was high."

After they left Columbus together, Hall said Furqan told her to approach one of the truck drivers in a tractor-trailer parked off the side of the road "to ask if they wanted some company." Hall told him she didn't want to do, but she said Furqan persisted and after her time with the truck driver, Hall said she returned with $60 that she gave to Furqan.

During their ride, Hall said Furqan instructed her on how to answer calls and inquiries from johns that Furqan received on his cell phone as well as how to record those inquires.

"When I got in the car, I didn't know I was going to do this," said Hall, who worked as a prostitute for Furqan twice.

She said she stopped working for Furqan after two occasions where he reportedly hit her in the face.

"After Furqan, I went independent, but Furqan taught me everything I needed to know," Hall said.

Arrested, courtroom tension

Furqan and Hall were arrested about 4 a.m. July 17 at a Wakeman gas station as the result of the sting operation set up by McLaughlin.

Hall was charged with possession of crack cocaine -- a charge Nicholson contends that the state will drop in exchange for Hall's testimony against Furqan.

Hall vehemently disagreed.

"I agreed to testify against Furqan because the truth needs to be told," she said. "I want Furqan off the streets. That's what I really want."

Tension ran high at times in the courtroom Thursday when Nicholson questioned the victim's mother, Sparks and Hall. Sparks said she was "done" answering questions from Furqan's defense attorney after Nicholson said he didn't like the way Sparks answered a question.

Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway told Sparks she had to answer questions since she'd been subpoenaed as a witness. Later, the judge told Nicholson and the victim's mother "to be civil to each other."

Nicholson brought six witnesses to the stand Thursday. Leffler rested the state's case early Thursday afternoon after 10 witnesses testified over 2 1/2 days.

The trial continues Tuesday, with Furqan expected to take the stand.

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