July 18th, 2024

Man pleads guilty to sexual assaulting teen, receives custodial sentence

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on October 28, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A 63-year-old grandfather who sexually assaulted a young teenage girl more than two years ago has been handed a custodial sentence of two years less a day.

Kim Bruce Small Face will be able to serve the sentence in the community, however, under 24-hour house arrest for the first year, followed by curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. every day for the second year.

Small Face pleaded guilty Friday in Lethbridge court of justice to one count of sexual assault, and was given a conditional sentence that allows him to serve his sentence at home rather than in jail.

Court was told that on Sept. 24, 2021 the complainant, who was 16 years old at the time of the incident, was heavily intoxicated after drinking throughout the day at Small Face’s residence on Columbia Boulevard West in Lethbridge. She fell asleep on Small Faces’s bed, where he sexually assaulted her while she was passed out.

“The accused performed cunnilingus, otherwise known as oral sex, on the complainant, when the complainant was in this highly intoxicated state,” said Crown Prosecutor Clayton Giles. “The complainant was not able to consent to sexual activity at that time, and the accused was either reckless or willfully blind to the complainant’s level of intoxication.”

Giles noted that while Small Face has a criminal record that began in 1994 for impaired driving, and also includes later convictions for impaired driving causing bodily harm, uttering threats, drug trafficking, mischief, possession of stolen property and theft, he doesn’t have any convictions for sex-related offences.

Although Giles said the assault wasn’t as “dramatic” as other sexual assaults seen in court, it nevertheless was “intrusive in terms of her personal sense of sanctity of her body.”

Giles and Lethbridge lawyer Scott Hadford jointly recommended to Justice Kristin Ailsby the two-year conditional sentence order, which includes conditions that he not consume alcohol or illicit drugs and not have any contact with the victim. He must take counselling and treatment for alcohol and drug abuse, and as otherwise directed by his supervisor, including counselling for personal boundaries, and he must submit a sample of his DNA for the National DNA Data Base, and register with the Sex Offender Information Registry for 10 years.

Hadford pointed out Small Face grew up on the Blood Reserve, and as a youth attended St. Mary’s Residential School and suffered the abuses that so many other indigenous students suffered.

“St. Mary’s was a notoriously significant school for the process and abuses of human rights that went on with our indigenous population,” Hadford said.

“Mr. Small Face is well aware and certainly remorseful for the actions he took on that day. He is paying a significant price for it with his personal freedom, although it could be worse, it could be actual jail.”

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