Man faces sentence in January for having sex with girl

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PICTOU – An Antigonish man who pleaded guilty to having sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old girl will be sentenced in the New Year. 

Terry Fitzgerald, 34, was scheduled to be sentenced Friday in Pictou Provincial Court, but Judge Del Atwood reserved his decision until early January so he could consider the legal arguments brought forward by the Crown and defence.  

Crown attorney Patrick Young asked the judge to consider a sentence of 2 1/2 years for Fitzgerald while defence lawyer Rob Sutherland said between 12 and 24 months was more appropriate for his client.

The court was told that Stellarton Police were called to a home in its jurisdiction on Oct. 3, 2012, after a woman walked into Fitzgerald’s home and found her niece in bed with him.

The victim and another girl had gone to Fitzgerald’s home the night before after one of the girls had a fight with her mother. 

Fitzgerald told police he and teenage girl were talking until 3 a.m. and when they went to his bed, he made a divider between them so they wouldn’t touch together. The girl also denied that anything had happened, but later when her mother drove her to the hospital for a sexual assault test, she confessed she’d had sex with the man.

The victim said the sex wasn’t forced, but it was initiated by Fitzgerald. It was the first time she had sex with him and he told her not to tell anyone what had happened between them.  

Young said she also told officers “he was trying to get us to go to Antigonish with him to be his whores.”

Defence lawyer Rob Sutherland agreed to the facts read out in court with the exception of the accusation by the victim that he was a pimp.

Young deemed the offence a “major sexual assault” that also breached a position of trust by him taking them into his home.

Sutherland argued that his client has a cognitive defect that rationalized blame and allowed a willingness to overlook the problem.

In addition to being diagnosed at a young age with attention deficit disorder that affects his memory, he said Fitzgerald also suffered a concussion in the past that causes him to have comprehension problems.

“In a particular month, in a particular year, he made a horrible mistake,” said Sutherland.

The sentencing will take place Jan. 7 in Pictou Provincial Court.

Geographic location: Antigonish

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