July 14th, 2024

Sentencing postponed until risk assessment done on man

By Lethbridge Herald on October 18, 2023.

Delon Shurtz

Sentencing of a 35-year-old Fort Macleod man who was caught filming a woman in a shower stall earlier this year has been adjourned while the court waits to receive more information from the health professional who has been counselling the accused. 

Tate Owen Rasmussen, who pleaded guilty last May to one charge of voyeurism, was set to be sentenced Monday in Lethbridge Court of Justice, but it was adjourned after a report prepared by a counsellor failed to point out whether Rasmussen poses a risk to reoffend.

That information is crucial for the court, Justice Gregory  Maxwell said, and could determine whether Rasmussen goes to jail or serves his sentence in the community.

“If I have to make a risk assessment, I’m not going to do it on the basis of an absence of evidence that would be available for me to help me make that decision,” Maxwell said.

 “If I’m left concerned that he represents a continuing risk for the public, he’s going to jail.”

Lethbridge lawyer Steven Osmond is seeking a six-month conditional sentence for his client, which would allow him to serve his custodial sentence under house arrest. 

However, that option is only on the table if he is no longer a risk.

On January 9 police responded to a report of a disturbance at the YMCA on Mauretania Road West. Police said a man was seen using his cell phone to film underneath a shower stall while a woman was showering.

The man was confronted by two other men but left the business before police arrived.

 YMCA employees assisted police and following further investigation the man was identified and arrested without incident.

Osmond said his client, who attended counselling sessions but stopped shortly after his child was born in April, has shown a decrease in clinical distress, which puts him at a lower risk.

“My position would be that there has been, at least from a clinical standpoint, a reduction in stress, putting my client in a better position to control the behaviours that we’re concerned about, and that makes him more suitable for a conditional sentence.” 

The Crown is also seeking a six-month sentence, but in an actual jail.

Crown Prosecutor Michael Fox said he believes Rasmussen is a threat to the community, and pointed out that Rasmussen acknowledges in a pre-sentence report that he has to mentally prepare himself before going out in public for fear he would relapse.

Rasmussen said he “deeply” regrets what he did and has been working on dealing with his issues and getting help through counselling.

“I am aware of the issues that I’ve had, which is why when I go out I make sure I’m mentally and spiritually prepared,” Rasmussen said. 

“That’s not to say that I wouldn’t be able to control myself if something arose, it’s just that I have to make sure I’m spiritually prepared so that when something does arise that I’m not tempted. I can easily get past it when I’m in a good spiritual place.”

The matter has been adjourned to Oct. 30 to allow defence time to get additional information from Rasmussen’s counsellor. 

he case will then be adjourned to another date for sentencing.

Fox pointed out it may be necessary for the counsellor to attend court to provide the information the judge requires.

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