MIAMI (CBSMiami)—The maternal grandfather of a 16-year-old girl who prosecutors say was victimized in a sex trafficking case spoke out for the first time, saying the seven men arrested deserve stiff punishment if they are convicted.READ MORE: Arrest Made After Woman Sexually Assaulted By Strange Man Who Crawled Into Her Bed In Miami Beach Hostel
“At this time I am a little angry because there are predators out there taking advantage of these girls and ladies in this type of crime and I would like to see them go away for a very long time and be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” said Larry, who did not want to show all of his face or reveal his last name.
In an exclusive interview with CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, he said “It makes me very sad and concerned about my granddaughter and her well-being and her mental and psychological health. Right now I feel bad that she went through this. I know she is scarred and this is something she is going to have to live with for the rest of her life.”
“Our children are the future of our country and I think the State Attorney has to take all of these cases very seriously when dealing with young people. These predators are out here watching our schools and homes and children and the community. The message is watch your children and love them and take care of them and make them feel safe,” said Larry.
“If you know of anything like this happening in the community, let the media know, let the authorities know. Let everyone know because we need to get these people off the streets,” said Larry.
Prosecutors said Larry’s granddaughter left her Miami-Dade public school on December 4th and got in to a black Ford Taurus. They say she was taken to a number of homes in Northwest Miami-Dade and given alcohol, cocaine, marijuana and MDMA pills.
According to an arrest report, the victim was forced to have sex with more than 16 men during a one-week period and forced to have sex with up to eight men simultaneously on at least two occasions. Police say she was required to make $1,288.READ MORE: Two People Charged In Attack Of CBS4 News Crew In South Beach
All of the suspects have been charged with sexual battery and supplying a controlled substance to a minor. After court appearances, bond was set at $75,000 for Branden Sands, Derrick Powell Jr. and Derrick Powell. Bonds were also set at $150,000 for Jerome Grace, $151,000 for Craig Hill, $75,000 for Mark Evans and $78,000 for Cornelius Edwards.
Prosecutors say they are also looking for Jermaine Brownlee, an eigth man and a person of interest who is also known as “BG.”
CBS4 followed Larry to a dependency hearing for his 16-year-old granddaughter at the Children’s Courthouse and Juvenile Justice Center. In court, we learned that the victim’s father had died 10 years ago and her mother lived in Texas with three children and had allowed her mother to take care of the 16-year-old girl.
Circuit Judge Mari Sampedro-Iglesia found probable cause for the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to shelter and supervise the child. She said that the grandparents would be allowed visits and the mother would be allowed “telephonic visits.”
The girl’s mother spoke by telephone from her home in Missouri City, Texas and broke down in tears a number of times. Judge Sampedro-Iglesia said the victim should see a therapist. That victim is still hospitalized.
The Judge said there would be future hearings at 9:30 a.m. on January 5th and she also ordered the mother to fly to South Florida from Texas and attend another hearing on the morning of January 12th.
Larry said his granddaughter “is as well as can be expected. But she will need help and counseling and love and care and attention from everyone.”MORE NEWS: Select Miami-Dade, Broward Sites Vaccinating Those 12 And Up
[display-posts category=”local” wrapper=”ul” posts_per_page=”5″]