No jail time for Kamloops man who molested stepdaughter

Child molester avoids jail

A 49-year-old Kamloops man who sexually assaulted his stepdaughter 14 years ago will avoid jail by taking advantage of the law as it stood when the offence occurred in 2006.

The man cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim.

In Kamloops court Wednesday, the stepfather received an eight-month conditional service order (CSO), followed by 12 months of probation. The sentence was recommended by both Crown and the defence as part of a joint submission, or plea deal, where the accused entered a guilty plea to one count of sexual assault. 

The offences took place between 2003 and 2006, when the victim was between the age of 12 and 15.

The court heard when the victim was 12, her stepfather began making sexually inappropriate comments to her. 

"He'd tell me that if I wore a bra, I needed to wear a bra because I had mosquito bites for tits," Crown prosecutor Camille Cook read from the preliminary inquiry transcript, adding the stepfather compared the victims genitals to her mother's.

The girl's stepfather also talked about sex toys and said, "You're going to marry me one day. No one will be good enough for you."

Other incidents, characterized by the Crown as "grooming behaviour," include the victim being given alcohol on New Year's Eve at 13 years old and being asked to do a dance for his friends. 

At 14, the court heard the victim was taken into his room for a "sex education lesson," where the accused put on a violent pornographic film.

"He told her to watch it and said, 'This is what sex is. You have to watch the whole thing.' And after she was done, he then asked her what she wanted from McDonald's," Cook told Judge Raymond Phillips. 

On another occasion, when the girl's mom was out of town for work, the accused came into the victim's room and gave her a massage. The incident ended with digital penetration, Camillie said, and the victim being told that he'd kill her mom if she said anything. 

The teen ended up telling her mother about what happened, Cook said.

"When they confronted the accused about it, he cried and indicated that the victim should punch him in the face and at some point in conjunction with being confronted about the incident, he bought the young girl a pet chinchilla afterward as a gift," she told the court. 

Cook said the offences have affected the victim's self-esteem, and that she thought being emotionally and physically abused was normal. The court was told she has also attempted suicide and has used drugs and alcohol to numb the pain. The offences came to the attention of police after the now-adult victim spent time in a psychiatric hospital.

Judge Phillips accepted the joint submission, accepting the Crown's explanation that it would avoid more traumatic testimony from the victim during a trial, while noting frailties in the Crown's case.

Cook said the victim understands what a CSO is; what's more important for her, Cook said, is closure.

"It didn't matter essentially what the sentence was. She wanted him to admit responsibility and to acknowledge his wrongdoing and that way, she could move forward," the court heard. 

Judges are bound to respect joint submissions, unless they believe the proposed sentence brings the “administration of justice into disrepute” and would lead a typical person to believe there is a “breakdown in the proper function of the justice system.”

"I can say based on the submissions before me and the understanding of the case from the counsel that have been involved... I find that the joint submission meets the objective, and specifically the conditions (of the CSO) meets the objective of deterrence and denunciation which are paramount in an offence of this nature," Judge Phillips said.

A host of conditions were attached to the CSO and probation order, including no contact with the victim or her mom and a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew for the first six months. The only exception to the former is an apology letter that Phillips ordered the accused to write and submit to his conditional service supervisor within two months of his sentence. 

The defence was able to argue for a conditional sentence since that was what the Criminal Code in 2006 allowed. Currently, conditional sentences are not permitted when an accused is indicted for sexual assault. 

The accused will also not be registered as a sex offender. In 2006, Crown prosecutors had to apply for an accused to be added to the registry, something that did not occur under this plea deal. Under today's law, an addition to the sex offender registry would have been automatic.

More Kamloops News