A B.C. man who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing 13 girls was sentenced to 16 years in prison June 28 after being designated a long-term offender.
He will also be subject to a 10-year supervision order following his release.
In a two-and-a-half-hour-long oral decision delivered in a Whitehorse courtroom, Yukon Supreme Court Justice Ron Veale condemned the man’s actions, describing his crimes as “horrifying and deplorable.”
“It is difficult to find words adequate to describe the acts and their consequences,” Veale said. “He has caused untold damage to the children he abused as well as to the families.”
The man cannot be named in order to protect the identity of his victims. He pleaded guilty earlier this year to 25 offences, including 11 charges of sexual interference, nine charges of making child pornography, three charges of voyeurism and two charges of possessing and accessing child pornography.
The man’s victims were all friends of his daughter who were younger than 14 years old, and his crimes took place between 2008 and 2015 in the Yukon, British Columbia and Ontario.
The majority of offences took place during sleepovers or overnight trips that he hosted, sometimes while his own daughter was asleep in the same bed.
The man filmed or photographed some of his victims while he was committing the sexual abuse, and also possessed child pornography that contained images of girls as young as six years old.
“I have reviewed the agreed statements of fact and reviewed the photographs and videos of the offences,” Veale said. “In addition to the shocking nature and staggering number of sexual offences on these young girls, I am struck by the elaborate and meticulous staging and exhibition of these deplorable acts. (The man’s) conduct was not opportunistic or random, but rather, incredibly well-organized.… He had, in effect, created a personal library of film and video of the most intrusive sexual acts on his young and vulnerable female victims for his personal gratification.”
The Crown had been seeking a dangerous offender designation for the man, which would have opened up the possibility of incarcerating him indefinitely. Failing that, the Crown had requested a long-term offender designation with 14 to 16 years’ incarceration followed by a 10-year supervision period, the maximum allowed under the law.
The defence had opposed any designation for the man and said that a sentence of seven to nine years was more appropriate.
In his reasonings, Veale said that the Crown had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the man was intractable, the key for securing a dangerous offender designation. He noted that the forensic psychiatrist brought in to do an assessment of the man, Dr. Shabhram Lohrasbe, told the court that pedophilies can be treated and managed in the community, and that the man is a good candidate for treatment.
Based on Lohrasbe’s evidence, though, Veale continued, it’s clear that without intense treatment and monitoring, the man is at high risk of reoffending. Lohrasbe appeared to be implicitly recommending the man receive a 10-year supervision order, the maximum allowed under the law, Veale said.
Veale said he concluded that a long-term offender designation, which allows for incarceration followed by a supervision order, was appropriate for the man.
In determining the man’s prison sentence, Veale largely agreed with the Crown’s submissions, saying that the man showed a “contemptuous disregard” for his victims’ well-being while abusing his position of trust. The age of the victims was also an aggravating factor as was the pre-meditated nature of the man’s crimes, Veale said, although he noted that the man should be given credit for pleading guilty and saving his victims from having to go through a trial.
“The offences perpetrated by (the man) are among the worst imaginable, taking place over a period of years against a relatively large number of children by a predator who grossly abused his status in the community and used his unwitting family to access his victims,” Veale said.
Veale sentenced the man to four years each for the four most “invasive offences,” and sentences ranging from two years to two months for the remaining charges. The sentences initially totaled 26 years, but Veale brought it down to 16 years based on the totality principle, which looks at whether the combined sentences for multiple crimes is too harsh.
The man has been in custody since February 2015. Veale gave him credit for that time, meaning that he will serving 13 years in prison.
The man will be subject to a 10-year supervision order upon his release. He also received a lifelong ban on being at parks, schools or daycares, having unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 16, serving as a volunteer that would put him in contact with children and accessing the internet without permission.
Outside the courthouse following the sentencing, a mother of one of the victims told the News she thought that Veale’s sentence was fair.
“It would have been nice to get a dangerous offender designation … but with the jail time and supervision, we feel it was fair,” she said.
Contact Jackie Hong at firstname.lastname@example.org