Ex-soldier bullied women into performing sex shows online

Ethan Cruz was kicked out of the Invictus Games after forcing women to participate in sexual activity.

Ex-soldier bullied women into performing sex shows online Google Maps

A former soldier was kicked out of Prince Harry’s Invictus Games after being exposed as a violent bully who forced two partners into sex work.

Ethan Cruz terrified the women, who had promising careers before they met the 39-year-old.

He regularly made them perform webcam shows for paying customers at his flat in Glasgow’s city centre.

One was eventually forced into prostitution, having sex with up to 15 men a day while Cruz raked in the cash.

He would assault the women, blackmail them, and boast of his apparently “special” military skills to get them to do what he wanted.

But Cruz, who previously served with the Royal Regiment of Wales, told jurors the pair got had got involved of their own free will.

He said they had known of his own previous work in the adult entertainment industry and how it earned him stays in £4000-a-night hotel suites and trips to Monaco.

Cruz had been due to be part of the UK team at the Invictus Games for injured military personnel in Toronto in 2017.

But he lost his place when the allegations emerged.

A trial finally took place four years later at the High Court in Glasgow, with Cruz now behind bars after he was found guilty.

He was convicted of intentionally causing both women to participate in sexual activity without consent.

Cruz was further guilty of assaulting both to the danger of their lives, as well as two charges of threatening and abusive behaviour.

The offences occurred between September 2014 and August 2016.

Cruz met the first victim on a dating site. She was a university student at the time.

She suffered violence at his hands on a trip to the Lake District and on holiday at a caravan park in Ayrshire.

Cruz raised the idea of the woman appearing online for money.

She refused but Cruz soon rigged up laptops and cameras at his flat in Glasgow’s Renfield Street – described as a “venue for sexual exploitation”.

The woman felt she had no other option.

He ordered her to: “Sit there and look pretty”.

He got her to buy skimpy outfits before she ended up regularly degrading herself for “paying customers” on the web.

The woman – who was cut off from family and friends – said: “I felt I had no option. I was trying to survive. I did not want any trouble.”

If she said no, Cruz assaulted her, including by choking.  He also kept control of any money and bank accounts.

The woman eventually escaped his clutches when a concerned friend encouraged her to go to the police.

By this time, Cruz was dating the second victim who he had also met online.

She had a promising career with an energy company. The woman had also been successful in martial arts as a youngster.

But Cruz also soon controlled her and profited from her via the webcam shows.

The court heard she was the victim of “frightening explosions of anger” if she protested.

As well as being physically attacked, Cruz threatened her parents, gran and even the family dog.

One sinister message warned: “Never dance with the devil”.

Another stated her dad would soon see his “people in action”.

The woman was eventually made to travel within the UK to have sex with between ten to 15 men a day for cash.

When she complained, Cruz told her: “You are f****d. Just wait you selfish c***”.

He also made threats of being in “psycho mode”.

In his evidence, Cruz, of the city’s Cranhill, denied forcing or blackmailing the women.

He reckoned the victims may have been “attracted” by the money he earned from sex work, which is thought to also include porn films.

Cruz claimed this had seen regular stays in expensive suites at London’s Dorchester Hotel and trips to Monaco paid for by clients.

Prosecutor Paul Kearney put to him: “So your position is that these two women after meeting you decide, for some reason, to get involved in this line of work?”

Cruz replied: “Yes.”

Mr Kearney then said: “Both of them ended up in a police station speaking about pretty hellish times with you.”

He replied: “That is what they say.”

The advocate depute said if Cruz was right then one of the women gave up a career to “travel the country on her own free will to have sex with up to 15 strangers a day”.

Mr Kearney later told jurors Cruz’s claims “absolutely boggled the mind”.

Cruz first appeared in court in 2016 prior to his planned appearance at the Invictus Games.

A previous hearing a year later heard how the army veteran was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome due to what he had witnessed in the army.

It emerged after the verdicts that Cruz had previously been the subject of a restraining order for a charge of battery at court in Surrey.

Cruz – who appeared during the trial in a wheelchair – was remanded in custody by judge Lord Summers pending sentencing next month.

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