October 22nd, 2020

Man pleads guilty to child luring, sexual assault


By Shurtz, Delon on February 20, 2020.

Delon Shurtz

Lethbridge Herald

dshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A child-luring trial scheduled to run nearly two weeks concluded after only one day when the accused unexpectedly admitted he lured an underage girl and had sex with her.

Before the jury even heard any evidence, Gary James Lippa pleaded guilty Wednesday in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench to charges of sexual assault, child luring and making, printing and publishing child pornography.

The Crown and defence are expected to present Justice C. Scott Brooker an agreed statement of facts today, outlining details of Lippa’s offences, which led to the charges. The judge is also expected to order a pre-sentence report and forensic assessment, which will provide background, personal and psychological information about Lippa to help determine a fit sentence. The matter will be adjourned for several weeks to allow time for the preparation of the reports, and for sentencing.

Lippa’s charges stem from offences in 2017 when he lured and assaulted a 13-year-old girl.

ALERT’s Internet Child Exploitation Unit initially reported that Lippa deceptively enticed a girl away from her caregivers. The man was arrested at his Lethbridge home on Feb. 22, 2018, after police received information that he was engaged in sexualized online chats with an underage girl. Police alleged nude photos were exchanged, and a number of computers and electronic devices were seized from the home.

Following Wednesday’s hearing, Lippa appeared in provincial court just down the hall, where he pleaded guilty to charges of theft under $5,000 and two counts of breaching release orders.

Court was told that when Lippa was granted bail in January 2019 on the sex charges, his release conditions stipulated, among other things, that he not attend areas where children under the age of 16 could be expected, and that he not possess or use devices that have access to the internet.

Earlier this month Lippa was at the Max Bell pool at the University of Lethbridge, and at the time many of the swimmers were young children. When security asked him why he was there he didn’t provide a reason and was escorted off the premises.

Several days later he was at the public library, where he was caught on a surveillance camera stealing a wallet and cellphone that had been left behind by another library patron.

Lippa, who has been in custody since he was arrested Feb. 10, was sentenced to 75 days in jail, but given credit for 15 days spent in pre-disposition custody. He is also allowed to serve his sentence on weekends, beginning Feb. 28, but during the week he is subject to a probation order that requires him to live at a specific address on the westside, obey a curfew and attend court when required.

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