By Delon Shurtz on December 15, 2020.
A 40-year-old Lethbridge man who admitted he sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl more than three years ago, is set to be sentenced early next year.
Gary James Lippa, who pleaded guilty last February to charges of sexual assault, child luring and making, printing and publishing child pornography, was in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench Monday, where his sentencing was scheduled for Feb. 19 in front of Justice D.K. Miller.
Although Lippa previously pleaded guilty, five months later told court he wanted to apply to strike the guilty pleas. On Nov. 26, however, he changed his mind, and his lawyer said Lippa was prepared to be sentenced.
Reading from an agreed statement of facts on Feb. 20, the Crown told court Lippa dated the mother of a young teenage girl he lured into having sex with him. After his relationship with the woman ended, Lippa and the girl lost touch with each other until after she turned 13 in November 2016 and he began 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 stepmother found out she was inappropriately communicating with Lippa online and contacted the RCMP. The girl provided a statement to police and was told to stop communicating with the accused, but 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 also faces three charges in provincial court of failing to comply with release orders, which relate to the sex offences on which he is waiting to be sentenced in Court of Queen’s Bench.
The accused, who had been granted bail after he was charged in 2018 with the sex offences, was ordered to not use or access the internet, to not have the internet in his residence, and to not possess any device capable of accessing the internet. He is accused of accessing the internet.
Lippa was denied bail Dec. 4 on the provincial charges, and the matter is scheduled to return to court Wednesday.
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