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Repeat sex offender in B.C. avoids jail time as judge cites rare circumstances

The teen disclosed the abuse in 2015 and a police investigation was conducted but no charges were ultimately laid in the case.
The teen disclosed the abuse in 2015 and a police investigation was conducted but no charges were ultimately laid in the case.

A B.C. man who was convicted of sex offences against his step-daughter has avoided jail time despite being a repeat sex offender.

On Sept. 26, 2018, the father, who cannot be identified due to a publication ban, was found guilty of one count of sexual interference and one count of sexual assault. The second criminal count was later stayed for the purposes of sentencing.

Court heard that during the summer of 2016, the man had on two occasions touched the developing breasts of his then 11-year-old step-daughter. On a third occasion, he put his hand down her pyjamas and fondled her private parts.

The crimes took place in the father’s home where he was parenting his step-daughter and others and while he was in a position of trust and authority.

The 37-year-old man had previously pleaded guilty to having committed a sex offence against the 14-year-old daughter of the sister of his then-partner. In April 2014, he received a sentence of about seven months in jail for that offence.

One of the terms of his release was that he complete a sex offender treatment program, but he breached that condition by failing to attend his appointments.

For the father’s sentencing hearing, several reports were presented to B.C. Supreme Court Justice Gordon Weatherill for consideration.

A psychiatric report found that the man was a relatively high risk to re-offend, while a report on the effects of the father’s aboriginal background found that he had a troubled upbringing.

His mother and grandmother were subjected to the travails of the residential school program and experienced physical, sexual and other abuses.

The man himself experienced violence, verbal abuse and neglect at the hands of his alcoholic mother and witnessed several suicide attempts by her.

He believed that he had fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and suffered from anxiety and depression, although none of those conditions have been formally diagnosed.

In imposing sentence, the judge concluded that the report on the man’s aboriginal upbringing was the most complete assessment of who he was.

The judge noted that absent extraordinary circumstances, both aboriginal and non-aborginal offenders who commit sex offences against children will receive prison sentences.

He said he agreed with the aggravating factors as outlined by the Crown, including that the victim was a vulnerable young girl and that he had been in a position of trust and was a repeat sex offender.

But he noted that the father had taken steps to turn his life around and had expressed remorse and shame for his conduct. The judge accepted the position of the defence that it was one of the rare cases where a prison sentence was not the answer.

“In my view, it will neither further the ends of justice nor serve to protect anyone,” said the judge, who imposed a suspended sentence and three years of probation. The Crown had called for a sentence of two years less a day and two years of probation.

Prior to receiving his sentence, the dad delivered an apology in court.

“I hate myself and I really need some help. … I don’t want to be the father I used to be.”

kfraser@postmedia.com

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