PICTOU – A 37 year-old Antigonish man has been sentenced to two years in prison for having sex with a 14-year-old girl.
Terry Leonard George Fitzgerald will also be on probation for 18 months after his release.
The incident happened after a 14-year-old girl and her friend ran away from an aunt’s house and asked to spend the night with Fitzgerald who was then living in Stellarton. When confronted by the aunt and police, the 14-year-old admitted to having sex with Fitzgerald but said she was not forced and it had only happened once.
Judge Del Atwood rejected the Crown’s argument that Fitzgerald was in a position of authority, noting that term constitutes more than being “a casual one night host,” but he said the girl’s need for shelter made her vulnerable. He also stressed that a minor is incapable of giving consent. He acknowledged the girl had not been lured by Fitzgerald but called the crime opportunistic.
No victim impact statement was presented at the sentencing but Atwood said he had no doubt the girl is or will be profoundly affected. He suggested shame and regret often account for a victim’s reticence to participate in an offender’s sentencing.