Truck driver accused of having sex with mom, daughter

2013-11-05T21:00:00Z 2013-12-23T12:57:14Z Truck driver accused of having sex with mom, daughterBy LORI PILGER / Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com

It's the kind of trial that's not easy to sit through.

At the heart lies a mother selling her 14-year-old daughter for sex at $100 a pop in hotel rooms and semis in truck stop parking lots.

And the girl, now 16, who speaks matter-of-factly about having sex with strangers for money -- 20 times, probably more -- with her mom watching.

In opening statements Tuesday, Assistant Attorney General Corey O'Brien called the mother's patent sexual exploitation of her daughter one of the most despicable acts imaginable.

But it's not her trial.

The Upland woman already is in prison for her crimes across the state on sentences that add up to 92 years on the bottom, 140 on the top.

Still, she'll testify in a Lancaster County courtroom, as her daughter did Tuesday, at the trial of a Columbus man, Donald Grafe, 39, who the state alleges was one of the men who had sex with them both in the sleeper cab of his semi in the parking lot of a Lincoln truck stop in March 2012.

He denies he had sex with the girl, who was 14 then, as the prosecutors allege.

"It never happened," his attorney, Bob Creager, told the jury.

It may have been illegal and morally wrong for Grafe to meet and pay her mom for sex, and "it may be a lot of things, but he isn't charged with having sex with a prostitute," he said.

The girl says Grafe had sex with her, too.

From the witness stand, she pointed at him sitting at the defense table and said he was the man who she remembered having a hairy, pimply back who waved her and her mother up to the cab of his semi in a truck stop parking lot on West O Street and had sex with them one after the other.

The girl, a 10th-grader now, said she and her mom and a younger sister had been staying at a Lincoln shelter for a couple of weeks when her mom said there was a truck driver coming through who wanted to meet them.

"I expected sex, but I wasn't for sure," she said.

By then, it was nothing new. When she was 12, her mom showed her an ad she'd posted online. A few months later, her mom was bringing her along because the men would pay more. She told her she'd get half, but her mom kept most of it.

That day in Lincoln last year, she remembers heading to the truck with Grafe Trucking printed on the door and him waving them up. She said Grafe gave his full name when they met.

Creager was quick to point out she didn't give his name or even a description to investigators in April when they arrested her mom after one posed as a john. Nebraska State Patrol troopers tracked down Grafe through texts he exchanged with her mother.

Still, the teen said she stood a foot and a half away while her mom had sex with Grafe, then they switched places. After, he paid her mom $150 and they left, she said.

She said she went with her mom to meet him one other time, at a Shell Station off Interstate 80 near Kearney. But she stayed in the car.

"My mom and I kind of had this bond, where we'd kind of be there for each other. So neither of us would get hurt," she said.

But in a earlier deposition, under oath, she said she was inside the cab watching.

"Did you lie in this deposition?" Creager asked her.

Yes, she said, but she wasn't lying about anything else.

Grafe's trial is to continue Wednesday. If convicted of sexual assault of a child, he faces 15 years to life in prison.

Reach Lori Pilger at 402-473-7237 or lpilger@journalstar.com or follow her on Twitter at LJSpilger.

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