A man has revealed the “irreparable” historic impact of a woman’s act to procure him into prostitution, with a court being told the vile decision “in effect, created his identity” and led to his drug use and trauma.
Karla Rose Heath avoided a jail term following her sentencing at Brisbane Supreme Court on Monday on charges of supplying a dangerous drug to a minor and procuring the engagement of a young person in prostitution, which occurred more than 20 years ago.
Heath, now 48, shielded her face with a scarf and a large hat as she walked from court with a suspended jail term.
She was supported by her legal counsel outside the Supreme Court as she avoided the cameras.
The devastating impact of Heath’s actions were revealed as Supreme Court Justice Frances Williams read from the complainant’s victim impact statement.
The court was told the man, who was only a teenager at the time, had worked as a prostitute since Heath’s offending between 2000 and 2001.
The statement detailed how her actions also triggered his drug use.
“(He says) it, in effect, created his identity,” Justice Williams said.
She detailed how the man had been diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder and the resulting trauma had an “irreparable” impact on his life.
“His statement is articulate and measured, showing considerable insight into the impacts of the offending,” Justice Williams said.
The court was told Heath and the man had a “close friendship” at the time of the offences and he looked up to her.
Justice Williams said Heath was involved in prostitution and was “responsible” for that same man – then aged between 14 and 15 – becoming involved.
One occasion involved Heath taking the child to a hotel where she said he could “make money there since it was a gay club”.
“You discussed how to do this and you told the complainant he could charge $100 for oral sex,” Justice Williams said.
“The complainant felt obliged to do this to obtain money.”
Reading from an agreed statement of facts, Justice Williams said the complainant performed oral sex on a man and met Heath afterwards, handing her the money.
On another occasion, Heath arranged for them to have sex with an unknown man for money.
It ended in Heath having sex with the man in front of the child.
The third occasion involved Heath telling the child to go to a park and see if “there was anyone around … to have sex with”.
“No transactions eventuated on that occasion,” Justice Williams said.
The court was told Heath’s offending involved a “breach of trust” against the man, who was some 10 years younger than her at the time.
Justice Williams noted Heath was caught on a covert recording in 2021 – recorded by the man – acknowledging the prostitution and expressing remorse for exposing him to the acts.
She also admitted to lying about their whereabouts and activities to his mother and introducing him to “street drugs”.
“You stated you (Heath) were a drug addict at the time and you were motivated to obtain drugs, and money to purchase drugs,” she said.
Heath had pleaded guilty to the charge at an earlier court appearance.
She also pleaded guilty to supplying the same child with an unknown schedule one drug around the same time.
Justice Williams ultimately imposed a six-month jail term for the offences, suspending it for six months. Convictions were recorded.
She took into account Heath’s remorse and her abstinence from drug use since her mid-20s.
The court was told Heath had obtained a research scholarship and completed a Masters of Criminology through a Queensland university.
Her counsel had submitted Heath had been gainfully employed for 20 years, including in governmental health roles.