BY JOE FRIES, PENTICTON HERALD
A judge sentenced a B.C. man to five years in jail after he pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault, but his abuse of his stepdaughter went on for a decade before she put a stop to it.
Photograph by: Files , Penticton Herald
PENTICTON, B.C. — A man who sexually abused his stepdaughter hundreds of times over a 10-year period was sentenced Monday by a Penticton judge to serve half as much time behind bars.
The 38-year-old, who can’t be named due to a publication ban in place to protect the victim’s identity, pleaded guilty to a single count of sexual assault for the offences, which occurred on a near-weekly basis from the time the girl was three until just before her 14th birthday.
She “was a vulnerable child whose childhood was destroyed by the gross, self-serving sexual abuse by the offender, her stepfather, a person to whom she looked for protection and care,” Judge Meg Shaw said in her reasons for sentence.
Court heard he began abusing the girl, who’s now 19, shortly after moving in with her mother in Penticton. He progressed from fondling the girl’s genitals to performing oral sex on her.
The man finally confessed in November 2009 — although he wasn’t caught and arrested until 2015 — after the girl threatened to tell her mother about the abuse if he didn’t.
“At the tender age of 13, she was strong enough to tell the offender, ‘No more,’ and through her incredible strength and actions, the sexual abuse finally came to an end,” said Shaw.
According to her victim-impact statement, the girl is still struggling to deal with the fallout from the abuse and has attempted suicide as a result.
“She has suffered, and continues to suffer, emotional and psychological challenges from the way she was treated in her formative years,” said Shaw, and is “angry that she was robbed of her childhood and her innocence.”
The judge cited as a mitigating factor the man’s guilty plea, but said the apology he offered earlier this month at the beginning of the sentencing hearing was “suspect.”
Shaw noted the man told a psychiatrist he “fell in love” with the girl, and that he “never forced her” into the sexual acts, which he believed she “enjoyed.”
“These statements indicate questionable insight into his actions in sexually abusing a young child numerous times over a decade,” said the judge.
Court heard the woman with whom the man was living in Kelowna at the time of his arrest is 13 years his junior — but appears younger than her age — and they have a son together, although the man expressed a desire to have a daughter.
“I find this information somewhat chilling,” said Shaw.
Besides the five-year jail term, the man’s name will appear in the national sex offender registry for 20 years.
He’s also banned forever from being within 100 metres of the victim. Nor can he visit parks, playgrounds and other public places where kids under the age of 16 may be present, or perform volunteer or paid work in which he’s in a positon of trust over children.
The man, who appeared via videoconference from Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre, did not react as his sentence was read. He received enhanced credit of 207 days off his sentence for time served.
The victim, who was surrounded in court by about a dozen supporters, declined comment afterwards.