Man sentenced to three years for having sex with teenage girl

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PICTOU – A 40-year-old Westville man has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for having sexual relations with the teenage daughter of his ex-girlfriend. 

The man, who cannot be named under a publication ban, was found guilty of sexual assault, invitation to sexual touching and sexual interference for incidents that occurred between the summer of 2011 and April 2012.

In a joint recommendation, the charges of sexual assault and invitation to sexual touching were stayed by the Crown, meaning the man was sentenced to the lengthy prison term for the sexual interference.

“He groomed her, bought her things and took her where she wanted to go,” said Crown attorney Patrick Young during the sentencing hearing Friday in Pictou Provincial Court. “She was vulnerable and looked up to him as a young girl. She was entitled to love and protection, but instead she got taken advantage of.”

The man pleaded not guilty to the charges and during the trial testimony was heard from the victim, who was 13 at the time of the offence, that the accused first kissed her in April 2011 and quickly progressed into a sexual relationship.

She told police they first had sex when she couldn’t sleep and went into his bedroom. She said “no” to the sexual act and was “mad” at her self afterwards for letting it happen.

Following this incident, the girl told police she would visit the man a few times a week during which time they would have sex. She said she consented to the alleged sexual intercourse after the first time.

She said the man told her if anyone found out about their relationship, everyone would be angry at her. 

In addition to the police interview, the Crown entered into evidence three letters written by the man to the alleged victim that state, “I love the way you touch me. I love the way you kiss me.”

The girl’s mother found out about the relationship in May 2012 after she read her daughter’s diary. She then contacted police.

In a victim impact statement, the girl said the incident is having lasting effects on her life.

“She talks about sleeplessness, losing friends, trouble meeting new people and how she doesn’t enjoy life,” said Young as he paraphrased part of the report.  “She wrote, ‘I feel like I lost my childhood and I had to be adult.’”

Young said the man not only took advantage of a 13-year-old, but he abused her trust by having the sexual acts take place in his own home where she should have felt safe.

Defence lawyer Rob Sutherland said a mental health assessment done on his client indicates that he is low to moderate risk in society and would benefit from mandatory treatment in an institution.

He said the report states that the man can control his sexual needs, but being around alcohol and teenage girls that are not related to him increases his risk.

The man apologized to the court for the pain that he caused the victim and said he was willing to take whatever sentence or restrictions the court imposed.

“I would like to apologize for all of the grief (the victim) has gone through,” he said. “Whatever your honour sees fit, I am wiling to do whether it’s jail, counselling or therapy. I am willing to do whatever it takes.”

Provincial Court Judge Del Atwood said the man “seriously abused the position of trust” in his relationship as her stepfather.

“In his home, he has taken advantage of her desire for affection,” he said. “He turned her into an object rather than a human being.”

He said that although the victim expressed difficulty living with the effects of this type of abuse, she did express some positivity when she mentioned the support of her family in helping her move on from the abuse.

“I do believe my life can get better and I can feel better. I know I am stronger than I was and had some great support along the way,” said the victim in her impact statement.

In addition to the three-year prison sentence, the man must also pay a $200 victim surcharge fine within four years.

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