A Colwood mother has been sentenced to five-and-a half years in prison after being convicted of internet luring and sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy in April 2020.
Provincial court Judge Ted Gouge imposed the maximum sentence of two years less a day for each count of sexual assault and an 18-month sentence for internet luring. The sentences are all consecutive.
The 27-year-old woman was identified in court document as Ms. P.
Parliament has chosen to prioritize denunciation and deterrence in cases of sexual assault upon children and the Supreme Court of Canada agrees with that approach, Gouge wrote in his judgment.
“In this case… it is important that the message be clear. The message is: If you are an adult, and you have sex with a child, you should expect to go to jail for a long time,” he wrote.
Defence lawyer Rolfe Horne said Monday he has instructions to appeal the sentence.
The trial, which took place over five days in late June, heard that in April 2020, Ms. P lived in a townhouse in a Colwood development.
One evening, a group of four boys gathered on the sidewalk outside her home. She and a friend were on their way to the liquor store. The teens offered to trade marijuana for a six-pack of vodka coolers. The women agreed and came back with the six-pack and their own two litres of wine. By this time, the 15-year-old boy had joined the group.
The two women drank wine. The boys smoked dope and drank the coolers. Everyone was intoxicated to some degree. Then the woman began an erotic solo dance, removing some of her clothing. She sat on the 15-year-old’s lap. They began to kiss, then went upstairs and had sex. The woman testified that she asked “Are you sure you’re 18?” three times. The boy replied “Yes” and “I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t.”
A few days later, she sent a text inviting the 15-year-old to a “hot make-out sesh.” He came over and they had sex on a couch in her garage.
During the sentencing hearing, court heard that Ms. P is the mother of a six-year-old boy who suffers from attention deficit disorder. Their family doctor believes her son’s mental health and development will suffer if she is incarcerated.
Ms. P was sexually abused as a child and has received treatment for anxiety and depression since the age 14. She has no criminal history and her risk of re-offending is low, court heard. She is employed, is in a stable relationship with an intimate partner, and has the support of her mother.
However, a probation officer found Ms. P minimized her behaviour by saying that there aren’t any laws to hold “a minor to account for lying about their age.” The judge found her expression of remorse at the sentencing hearing “unconvincing” because she continued to blame the youth for misleading her about his age.
The effect of Ms. P’s offending behaviour on the victim, now 17, “has been very grave indeed,” said the judge, who described the victim impact statement “a powerful articulation of the effects of sexual abuse on children.”
“I stopped caring about life and I don’t really try anymore,” the teen wrote adding that his relationship with his family has been affected and he doesn’t enjoy the things he used to.
“I really struggle with my self-esteem now. I don’t like myself,” the teen wrote. He said he had “hit a wall” and is “lost and confused.”
It is necessary to reject the stereotype that teenage boys are less vulnerable to sexual assault than teenage girls, said the judge. And to impose a lesser sentence on a female offender than a male offender infringes the rights of male offenders under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, wrote Gouge.
Although the judge said he is concerned about the impact on Ms. P’s son, he did not think he should reduce an “otherwise-appropriate sentence” for that reason.
“Many offenders have children. If I were to impose a lesser sentence on Ms. P because of the impact of the sentence on her mother and son, I would dilute the deterrent effect of the sentence,” he wrote.
The son will continue to have a close relationship with his father and grandmother.