A Canberra brothel operator is accused of telling sex workers they had to perform sex acts with him to prove they were cut out for the job, a court has heard.
Bradley Lester Grey, 54, allegedly coerced nine women into engaging in sex acts with him as part of their “training”, claiming it was necessary for them to familiarise themselves with the demands of the industry and the expectations of clients, the ABC reports. It’s further alleged that these sex acts were in some cases performed without condoms, which is illegal in the ACT.
Grey is now on trial in the state Supreme Court and facing a total of 27 charges, including 16 counts of rape and 10 counts of performing an act of indecency. He has pleaded not guilty to all of them.
The prosecutors alleged the women involved did not consent to the sex acts, or that consent had been negated by false representations that the acts were required as part of the job application process. "The law says consent that is negated, is no consent at all," prosecutor Trent Hickey told the jurors.
Many of the women involved in the case said they were recruited via ads for sex worker positions on platforms like Gumtree and Craigslist, and were allegedly told they could earn up to $7,000 a week working for Grey, The Canberra Times reports.
It’s further alleged that Grey abused his position of power when he told new staff he had to “train” them in order to obtain sexual gratification for himself. This training involved the women massaging him or performing oral sex on him, and Grey also allegedly performed oral sex on some of the victims and raped them, claiming he had to show them how to pleasure female clients.
Defence barrister Beth Morrisroe warned jurors the trial would be uncomfortable and that it could pose a challenge to their morality, but urged them to let the facts guide their verdict. She reminded them that sex work was legal, and asked "if this was any industry other than the sex industry, would we be here?"
The trial continues today.