By Shurtz, Delon on July 18, 2020.
A 55-year-old Raymond-area man who was found guilty in January of three sex-related offences against his daughter, has been given the maximum prison sentence allowed under law.
The man, who can’t be named to protect the identity of the girl, was sentenced Friday in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench to 14 years in a federal penitentiary on each charge of incest and sexual interference. He was also sentenced to six years in prison for one count of invitation to sexual touching, while a charge of sexual assault was stayed. All the sentences will run concurrent to each other.
The Crown had recommended the maximum sentence, while defence was hoping for a sentence between eight and 10 years. Lethbridge lawyer Wade Hlady suggested Friday that the sentence could even be five years, which is the minimum sentence allowed.
During the jury trial in January, the girl told court her father sexually assaulted her for more than four years beginning when she was only nine years old. She testified her father inappropriately touched her – and had her touch him – on numerous occasions, and had intercourse with her, as well. The assaults ended after her father moved out of the home in 2018.
The accused testified in his own defence, but simply denied the allegations. He admitted his daughter occasionally sat on his lap while they drove his truck, and said he used a massager to massage her back, taught her how to shave her legs, wrestled with her and sometimes slept with her in her bed or when they went camping. But none of the activities involved anything sexual.
At the conclusion of the trial, Hlady told the jury not to believe the girl’s testimony and said she often couldn’t provide specific details or elaborate on many of the alleged sexual encounters between herself and her father. He suggested some of the assaults would have simply been impossible to commit.
Hlady also suggested the girl may have an overactive imagination and actually believe she’s telling the truth, even though her evidence is “not believable.”
Crown prosecutor Michael Fox said there was no evidence to indicate the girl was lying. He suggested she couldn’t be expected to remember everything about the assaults when she was younger, yet she still provided details about many of the encounters.
Fox told jury members the young and sexually inexperienced girl could not have described some of the acts in detail unless they had actually happened.
During sentencing Friday, Justice Patrick Sullivan read from the girl’s victim impact statement, and noted the girl struggles to trust people, and hates being hugged. She wrote the assaults “messed with my brain,” and said she finds it “hard to be happy.”
Moments before Sullivan concluded his remarks, he stressed that individuals who prey on children will have to pay a heavy price. Then the offender was ushered out of the courtroom, pausing only long enough to say goodbye to friends sitting directly behind him.
In addition to his sentence, which was reduced by nearly nine months for time he already spent in custody, the offender must register for life with the national Sex Offender Information Registry. He must submit sample of his DNA for the National DNA Databank and he is prohibited from possessing weapons for 10 years. He is also prohibited from going to many areas frequented by children, or holding positions in which he works or volunteers with underage children.
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