Girl victim testifies in child sex trade case

Police: Mom traded sex with then-6-year-old daughter for drugs, money

Published On: Mar 03 2012 10:42:22 PM EST   Updated On: Oct 11 2012 08:47:20 PM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

A 7-year-old girl who investigators say was given up for sex with four men by her mother in exchange for drugs and money gave difficult testimony in a Duval County courtroom Thursday.

Dalina Nicholas, 39, was arrested in March, accused of allowing at least four men to sexually abuse her then-6-year-old daughter for drugs and money in Jacksonville Beach.

Quinn Brooks, John Hagans, Ryan Harrover and Norman Thompson were also arrested and charged with capital sexual battery.

At Friday's pretrial hearing, the girl testified against her mother and the four men accused of sexually abusing her.

Because of the girl's age and the nature of the crime, the judge closed the hearing to everyone except attorneys, the defendants, the girl and her child protection team.

In courtroom 305, the girl addressed the judge and attorneys. In the courtroom next door, her mother and the four co-defendants watched on a small monitor to spare the child of reliving the horror.

"It's almost like revictimizing," John Harrell, of the Department of Children and Families, said of the testimony of victims in these types of cases. "They videotape those interviews so they can refer back to them so the child doesn't have to be reinterviewed."

Jacksonville Beach detectives began investigating after they said a homeless man flagged an officer down to say he knew of a young girl being sexually abused by multiple men. He told police he "witnessed Nicholas tell the victim to take off her clothes and lay on a mattress in the living room, saw the suspect give Nicholas $20, and then perform oral sex on the victim," according to police reports.

"She is in a safe environment, she is in a comfortable environment," Harrell said. "She is receiving therapy on an ongoing basis, she is receiving tutoring as well to help her with school, and we're trying to encourage her to have as normal of a childhood as possible."

The girl's mother and three of the four men are still in jail. Brooks, 56, is out on bail.

Brooks' nephew accompanied him to court Thursday, saying his freedom is an indication of his innocence.

"I stand firmly behind my uncle," Calvin McGhee said. "From Day One, I knew he wasn't involved in anything like this. I know his character, I know what kind of person he is, and I know how he feels about kids and these people that are involved in stuff like that."

The mother and four men are scheduled to go to trial at the beginning of November.

The court is also looking into revoking Nicholas' parental rights. She has another child who is also in DCF care.