Defendant's outburst clears courtroom

A court officer tries to control Olivia Lara, who erupted in screams in a Fall River courtroom Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014.

A Fall River woman accused in a child sex-trafficking ring erupted in screams during her court appearance Thursday.

Olivia Lara, 38, of Fall River, was charged with three counts of trafficking in persons under the age of 18 for sexual servitude and three counts of deriving support from a minor prostitute. She pleaded not guilty and her bail was set at $100,000 cash.

As she was being escorted from the courtroom she hit her head against a wall and threw herself on the floor. Officers cleared the courtroom when Lara's relatives also began screaming.

Prosecutors said the investigation begin in December with information from New Bedford police that a Fall River woman was allegedly trafficking girls for sex in the Fall River area.

Authorities said Lara would meet "johns" at a Fall River bar and arrange for them to have sex with the girls in exchange for money.

They said Lara allegedly transported the girls to a number of residences and garages around Fall River and that some of the sexual activity took place in cars.

Prosecutors said a co-defendant, Feliciano Ramirez, was one of the johns who paid to have sex with a girl overseen by Lara.

Ramirez, 30, of Fall River, pleaded not guilty to a charge of rape of child and sex for a fee. His bail was set at $25,000 cash.

Both suspects are due in court Feb. 12 for a probable cause hearing.