By Shurtz, Delon on July 29, 2020.
A 39-year-old man waiting for months to be sentenced for luring an underage girl so he could have sex with her, wants to strike his guilty pleas.
Gary James Lippa pleaded guilty in February to charges of sexual assault, child luring and making, printing and publishing child pornography, but sentencing has been adjourned several times since then. A date for a sentencing hearing was expected to be set Monday in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench, but instead the judge was told Lippa and his lawyer want to part ways and the accused wants to strike his guilty pleas.
Lippa has until his next court hearing on Aug. 10 to hire new counsel, at which time his lawyer is expected to ask to be removed from the record, citing a breakdown in the solicitor/client relationship. The matter will likely be adjourned again to Aug. 24 for another judge to hear Lippa’s application to strike his guilty plea.
Court was told during a hearing Feb. 20 that Lippa dated the mother of the 13-year-old girl he lured into having sex with him, and often referred to the girl as his niece. After the relationship between Lippa and the girl’s mother ended, Lippa and the girl lost touch with each other 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 Feb. 22, 2018 police arrested him, searched his home, and seized several electronic devices. At first Lippa denied having sex with the girl, but later admitted he did once.
Lippa admitted the allegations as read in court, and signed an agreed statement of facts.
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