A 66-year-old Prince George man was sentenced Thursday to six years in prison for repeatedly forcing sex on an 11-year-old girl, getting her pregnant in the process.
The man, who cannot be identified under a court-ordered publication ban against information that would identify the victim, was a close friend of her family.
For about two months the girl and her brother had routinely gone over to the man’s home to do chores. But while her brother worked outside, she remained inside to do “girls’ work.”
Matters came to a head in September 2014 when the girl was taken to hospital because she was vomiting and complaining of a sore stomach. Physicians discovered she was eight-and-a-half weeks pregnant. The fetus was aborted three days after her 12th birthday.
The man pleaded guilty to sexual assault after he was matched to the fetus by DNA evidence.
In passing sentence, Prince George provincial court judge Shannon Keyes called the man’s actions as “serious and as invasive as it can possibly get.”
Referring to the girl by her initials only, Keyes said she was particularly vulnerable because she had intellectual disabilities and functions at about the level of a child half her age.
As a result of the attacks, the girl, who had also been sexually abused by an uncle when she was seven years old, suffers from anxiety in a clinically significant range, is now afraid of men, startles easily and often gets extremely angry over small matters.
The girl is under the care of her grandparents and they had a crisis of conscience over the termination of the pregnancy.
“They are both religious people whose faith disapproves of abortion, but they had to make that decision in order to reduce further harm to (their) granddaughter,” Keyes said.
The grandparents also feel particularly betrayed because the man was the grandfather’s best friend and was the best man at his wedding.
“Now, [the grandmother] cannot look at her wedding pictures without being reminded of his betrayal,” Keyes said. “She says he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
As for the man, Keyes found he has shown almost no remorse and dismissed an apology he gave during a sentencing hearing as hollow. He has also shown no insight, going so far as to blame the girl for his actions, Keyes also said.
The man, a member of the Tsay Keh Dene First Nation, had a troubled upbringing and was sexually abused as a child.
But Keyes found that was no excuse, saying he’s had “50 years to contemplate how vulnerable he was as a child, how devastated he felt at being abused that way and has observed close up the anguish that his friends and [the girl] went through when she was abused previously. Knowing all that, he violated [the girl].”
Keyes said she had take into account precedent set in previous cases involving similar circumstances in arriving at the sentence.
The man showed no emotion and looked straight ahead as Keyes read out her decision while the girl’s grandmother looked on from the gallery, sobbing quietly.
“Personally, I would have liked a heavier sentence because it’s a life sentence for her,” the grandmother said after the decision was issued.
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