February 21st, 2024

Voyeur gets house arrest for spying on woman in shower


By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on November 10, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A 35-year-old Fort Macleod man who was caught filming a woman in a shower stall earlier this year has been handed a custodial sentence, but one he can serve in the community.

Tate Owen Rasmussen, who pleaded guilty in May to one charge of voyeurism, was given a one-year conditional sentence Wednesday during a hearing in Lethbridge court of justice. The sentence allows him to serve six months under house arrest, followed by curfew for six months then one year probation.

Defence had asked for a six-month conditional sentence, while the Crown recommended six months of actual jail.

Rasmussen was scheduled to be sentenced earlier this month, but it was adjourned after a report failed to point out whether Rasmussen poses a risk to reoffend.

Justice Gregory Maxwell said during a hearing Oct. 16, that the information is crucial for the court 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.”

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

He was confronted by two other men but left the business before police arrived. YMCA employees assisted police and following further investigation Rasmussen was identified and arrested without incident.

The risk of recidivism was not directly addressed Wednesday when clinical social worker Stephen Walker testified at Rasmussen’s sentencing hearing, but he said Rasmussen hired him to help him find ways to manage stress and problems in his life, which would help prevent him from re-offending.

Walker conducted a stress test with Rasmussen, but pointed out it does not determine a person’s risk of recidivism. He added, however, that if Rasmussen’s “illegal behavior” is connected to stress, then in his opinion lowering that stress could potentially lower the risk. He recommended his client continue counseling indefinitely.

He should “continue to seek out counseling for an indefinite period of time just to make sure that..the skills and resources he’s been cultivating with me are continued to be valid and useful with the situations he’s dealing with,” Walker said.

“One of the…in my opinion, important protective factors for Owen is social supports; effective, supportive people around him.”

As part of Rasumussen’s sentence and probation he has restrictions on going to public parks or public swim areas where children under the age of 16 attend or are reasonably expected to attend. He is prohibited from using co-ed or family washrooms or change rooms, and he is not to be in the company of any child under the age of 16 – except his own child – without the consent of the child’s guardian. He is also required to attend psychiatric and/or psychological assessments and treatment, in addition to the counseling he is taking.

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