DETROIT - The voice of an Adrian teenager - who four years ago was raped, held captive, and forced to prostitute herself - filled a still federal courtroom in Detroit yesterday shortly before the man convicted as her captor and pimp was sentenced to a quarter-century behind bars.
"It ... makes me sick how you treated me. ... How can you sleep at night?" asked the 18-year-old woman, whom The Blade is identifying as "Marie."
Only once did her voice waver, as she spoke of the "shame and embarrassment" after finding out she contracted hepatitis C, a disease that can be transmitted sexually, and her fear of one day passing the disease to her children.
She said she continues to have hearing problems from the time Clarence Brown, now 33, battered her.
Sitting at a nearby table with his attorney, Brown didn't move.
Following a five-day trial last year, Brown was convicted of kidnapping the teenager and forcing her to prostitute herself for several days at an Indiana truck stop in 2001.
Holly Hollis, a 22-year-old hooker at the time of the ordeal, pleaded guilty to sex trafficking in children and is serving a nearly four-year sentence for her part in "training" the teenager.
U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Tarnow offered Brown the chance to speak, and Brown briefly complained that he had an inadequate attorney.
"Is there anything else you'd like to tell me?" Judge Tarnow asked.
"Just that I'm innocent of these charges," Brown responded.
Judge Tarnow sentenced the former Toledoan to 25 years in prison for three convictions, including sex trafficking of children.
"This is one of the heaviest sentences I've ever imposed, certainly the heaviest where there hasn't been a killing," said Judge Tarnow, who has been a federal judge for nearly seven years. "To a certain extent, this is just as serious. The victim will never be able to enjoy her life the way she would have."
The girl left her home in Adrian, where she lived with her grandmother, in November, 2001, to celebrate her upcoming 14th birthday with a 19-year-old boyfriend - a man her grandmother did not know about.
Marie lied, telling her grandmother she was going out with a friend. But over the next few days, while her grandmother filed a police report and searched for her, Marie and the man traveled to several houses around the Toledo and Ypsilanti areas. He assured the increasingly nervous Marie that she would be taken home soon.
They met Brown and Holly Hollis, and eventually, Marie and her boyfriend fought. He abandoned her with Brown and Hollis, who refused to take her home and informed the teenager she was in "whore training."
Brown brutalized both women, raped Marie, and forced her to work at a truck stop near Fort Wayne, Ind. Ten days after she left home, she was alone with a trucker, who helped the teenager escape.
Norm Robiner, Brown's attorney, reminded the judge yesterday that the girl, once away from his client, didn't immediately call 911, but rode through several states with the trucker before calling home.
But Judge Tarnow admonished that the crime was not a momentary lapse of judgment.
"This wasn't just go in and rob and bank or go in and do this bad thing or this bad thing. This went on for a period of time," he said.
Judge Tarnow also advised Brown about the rights to an appeal. But the judge warned Brown that, even though the guilty verdict came from a jury, "I would have come to the same conclusion."
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