By Lethbridge Herald on February 21, 2020.
Gary Lippa dated the mother of a 13-year-old girl he lured into having sex with him, and often referred to the girl as his niece, a judge was told Thursday in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench.
Reading from an agreed statement of facts, co-Crown prosecutor Lisa Weich told court the young victim had known Lippa “for as long as she could remember,” and as she grew up she often referred to him as her uncle. After the relationship between Lippa and the girl’s mother ended, the girl lost touch with Lippa until after she turned 13 in November 2016 and he began communicating with her online, often texting her graphic sexual comments and requesting nude photos of her.
In August 2017, the two met several times while she was in Lethbridge staying with friends of the family. On one occasion they went to his residence and had sex.
In September the girl’s mother found out she was inappropriately communicating with Lippa online and she contacted the RCMP. The girl provided a statement to police and was told to stop communicating with Lippa. However, he continued talking to her and helped her hide the communications from her family.
After the girl turned 14 Lippa continued to communicate with her sexually, then on February 22, 2018 police arrested him, searched his home, and seized several electronic devices. Lippa chose not to call a lawyer at that time and confessed to police, although he initially said he only talked sexually to her to help her feel better about herself. He also denied at first that they met in Lethbridge, although she later confessed she had been in his residence. He also denied having sex with the girl, but later admitted he did once.
“Lippa said he knew what he was doing was wrong,” Weich told court.
Lippa was set to stand trial earlier this week, and a jury was chosen Tuesday. But on Wednesday, after the Crown and defence met with the judge to discuss whether to the girl’s statement to police should be admitted into evidence, Lippa pleaded guilty to charges of sexual assault, child luring and making, printing and publishing child pornography.
At the conclusion of Thursday’s hearing, defence requested a pre-sentence report and forensic risk assessment to provide the judge with Lippa’s personal circumstances, background and psychological profile, to help the judge render a fit sentence. The matter is scheduled to return to court March 23 to set a date for sentencing, likely in May.
Although lead prosecutor Carolyn Ayre of Specialized Prosecutions in Calgary did not recommend a sentence Thursday, she said outside the courtroom that charges of internet luring and making, printing and publishing child pornography have minimum, legislated sentences of one year each, which means Lippa will be sent to a federal penitentiary.
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