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Upper Hammonds Plains man charged with trafficking another 15-year-old girl

Leeanthon Oliver, 32, was arraigned in Halifax provincial court Monday on 10 new charges. He will return to court next month for a bail hearing.
Leeanthon Oliver is led into Halifax provincial court Monday to face human trafficking and sexual assault charges involving a second 15-year-old girl. (STEVE BRUCE / Local Xpress)

A Halifax-area man who was arrested last month on human trafficking charges involving a 15-year-old girl faces new allegations in relation to another girl the same age.

And even more charges could be coming against Leeanthon Oliver, a Crown attorney says.

The Upper Hammonds Plains man was arraigned in Halifax provincial court Monday on 10 new charges, including trafficking a person under the age of 18, sexual interference and two counts of sexual assault.

Oliver, 32, is also accused of luring a child over the Internet, forcible confinement, procuring a person under 18 for the purpose of providing sexual services, advertising sexual services and receiving material benefit from the sexual services of a person under 18 and from human trafficking.

Duty lawyer Kai Glasgow asked that both sets of charges against Oliver be adjourned until April 11 for a bail hearing.

Judge Gregory Lenehan remanded Oliver to the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Dartmouth.

Crown attorney Catherine Cogswell told the court that police continue to investigate Oliver and there could be additional charges laid before his next appearance.

Oliver was arrested Feb. 23 after police received a complaint involving a Pictou County girl he allegedly met on Snapchat and then brought to the city. He appeared in court the next day on 11 charges, including human trafficking of a young person, sexual assault, common assault and uttering threats.

That complainant reached out to police through a friend. The girl was taken to the IWK Health Centre in Halifax for treatment after she was rescued by police.

Cogswell said police then offered assistance to another 15-year-old victim, who’s also from outside the Halifax area.

“The first (girl) clearly cried out for help,” Cogswell told reporters. “The second girl, when we found out about her, accepted it when we reached out to her.”

The prosecutor said the case “came out of the blue” for investigators with the Halifax vice unit.

“This wasn’t one we went looking for,” Cogswell said. “It came looking for us, if I can put it that way.

“It just fell in our lap. … Everybody’s plans got completely changed for a period of two weeks. All the police officers dropped what they were doing and proceeded with this investigation.”

She said it’s important for victims of human trafficking to know that when they come forward, “we will drop what we’re doing and do what we can to protect them and keep them safe.”

Cogswell said all human trafficking cases are “extremely serious and disgusting.”

“The depth of depravity of human behaviour is what human trafficking is about,” she said.

“It’s about the sexual assault of children and the selling of children, and it’s absolutely horrific. So I couldn’t say this (case) is any more shocking than the other (human trafficking) files I’m currently prosecuting.”

Oliver has been convicted of at least 25 criminal offences since 2004, include assault, assault with a weapon, possession of stolen property and possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking. He also has four convictions for impaired driving, two for driving while disqualified and 15 for breaching court orders.

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