AMHERST – A 61-year-old New Glasgow man has been given an 18-month conditional sentence for a 2004 sexual assault in Amherst.
The names of the accused and the victim are protected by a public ban. The female victim was 21 at the time of the assault and related to the accused.
The man will serve the first 12 months of his sentence under house arrest and is only allowed to leave his home for work or to attend medical appointments or counselling services as directed by his probation officer.
He will also be on probation for two years after his conditional sentence. He will be placed on the sexual offender registry and must provide a DNA sample. He is prohibited from owning or possessing firearms for 10 years and cannot consume or possess alcoholic beverages during his conditional sentence and probation.
He must also complete 50 hours of community service work and pay a victim surcharge.
The man was found guilty during a recent jury trial in Amherst.
In rendering his sentencing decision, Justice Albert LeBlanc said the man and the victim were both at an Amherst residence for a weekend in October 2004.
The accused, who maintained his innocence throughout the trial, went into the bedroom where the victim was sleeping and touched her in a sexual manner.
The victim woke up, pushed him away and screamed for him to stop at which time the accused left the room.
While the Crown attorney pushed for a period of seven months in jail, the defence countered that he could lose his job and medical insurance coverage he uses to cover both his and his wife’s expenses.
The defence also asked that his name not be included in the sexual offender registry, but Justice LeBlanc said he has no discretion on the matter.
Justice LeBlanc said he does not believe the accused is at risk to reoffend and presents no danger to the community.
However, he said, he is not taking what the accused did lightly.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that what you did was crude. It leaves no marks or breaks, but leaves lasting damage and it takes a strong person to overcome that,” Justice LeBlanc said.
At the beginning of the sentencing phase, the victim read her victim impact statement saying the accused took away her freedom and violated her body to the point that she was disgusted with her own body.
She said she suffered panic and anxiety attacks and was afraid to be alone when her husband left home for work. It also affected how she parented her children.
However, thanks to her husband and supportive family and friends she has overcome what happened to her and told the court she will not let her attacker keep her down.