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Trial begins in rape, trafficking of young teens

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, at 6:41 p.m.

A Sedgwick County jury began hearing evidence Tuesday in a trial involving a woman who sat passively on a bed as her young teenage daughters were being raped in an east Wichita motel room.

“She sat on that bed and watched,” Deputy District Attorney Marc Bennett said in his opening statement. “While she didn’t like it, she will tell you, she lifted not a finger to stop it.”

The defendant in the case, James Lamont Brown, 49, is facing multiple counts of rape and aggravated human trafficking for crimes that allegedly occurred from April 2010 through June 2011. The girls, who were 13 and 14 when the case was filed, are among the scheduled witnesses.

Bennett said the girl’s mother has pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated human trafficking and has agreed to testify against Brown at his trial. As part of the plea agreement with the mother, prosecutors will recommend that she be sentenced to life without parole for 25 years. The mother is not being named to protect the identity of her daughters.

Bennett said evidence in the case will show that the rapes occurred after the mother drove the girls from her home in Kansas City, Kan., to the Econo Lodge at 8302 E. Kellogg in Wichita. He said the rapes always occurred in rooms with two beds. The mother and one daughter would typically sit on one bed, he said, while Brown had sex with the other daughter on the other bed. He said the girls often cried during the rapes.

“Sometimes he would stop if they cried loud enough,” Bennett said. “Other times he wouldn’t.”

Bennett said police got involved after the younger girl mentioned the abuse to a woman who was braiding her hair.

Defense lawyer Mark Severt offered a brief opening statement.

“He didn’t do it, pure and simple,” he told the jury.

Severt said there was little in the way of physical evidence to substantiate the claims made by prosecutors.

The trial resumes Wednesday in the courtroom of District Judge Greg Waller.

Reach Hurst Laviana at 316-268-6499 or hlaviana@wichitaeagle.com.

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