June 14th, 2024

Sexual interference results in 33 month jail sentence


By Delon Shurtz on September 23, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A Lethbridge man who sexually assaulted his cousin’s 10-year-old daughter has been sent to a federal penitentiary.
The man, who can’t be named to protect the identity of the girl, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Lethbridge provincial court to one count of sexual interference, and was sentenced to 33 months in prison.
The man was living with the girl’s family to help with chores and drive the children to school, but last September the mother noticed her cousin was acting strangely and wanted to spend a lot of time with her daughter. On Sept. 13, 2020 the woman asked her daughter if anything had happened, and she said the accused had “licked her private parts” a few days previous while she was in bed.
The girl told her mother the accused had previously asked the girl on several occasions if he could do the same thing, and she said no. He promised to give her candy if she would let him, and he made her “pinky swear” not to tell her parents what he had said.
On Sept. 10 the girl was in bed half asleep when she felt someone at the foot of her bed and felt a pain between her legs. The accused assaulted her for about a minute. A week earlier the accused had tried to do the same thing behind the couch while her brother played a video game nearby.
The parents reported the assaults to police, and the accused and the girl’s father drove to the police station where the accused confessed to police, explained he was off his medication, and wanted to turn himself in so he could get the help he needs.
The Crown sought a three-year prison sentence, plus a sentence of 45 days for breaching release conditions last July prohibiting the man from going near the family’s home.
“This is obviously a major violation of the bodily and sexual integrity of this young child,” Crown Prosecutor Sheena Campbell told court. “Applying force of any sexual nature to a child is highly morally blameworthy. The accused knew what he was doing; he made multiple advances against this victim over a period of time or at least a few weeks, and had the foresight to tell her to not advise her parents about the advancements.”
Defence agreed with the facts stated by the Crown, but recommended a sentence between 27 and 30 months in light of his client’s confession to police, guilty plea, remorse and difficult childhood in which he was mentally, emotionally and sexually abused by his own father and stepfather. He also suffers from ADHD, depression, anxiety and other mental health and cognitive deficiencies, which lower his moral culpability, his lawyer suggested.
In addition to the 33-month prison sentence, which was reduced by 86 days for time the accused spent in pre-trial custody, the judge also ordered a sentence of 45 days for breach of release conditions. He agreed, however, with a defence recommendation that the sentence run concurrently with the longer sentence.
The accused must register with the Sex Offender Information Registry for 20 years, and submit a sample of his DNA for the National DNA Databank. He is also prohibited from going to parks and other areas where children under the age of 16 attend, and from working or volunteering in positions of trust or authority over anyone under the age of 16.

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