SYDNEY, N.S. - A 32-year-old Sydney Mines man who engaged in a two-year consensual, but illegal, sexual relationship with a young girl has been sentenced to a federal prison term of 2 ½ years.
Richard Bully Rice was sentenced after pleading guilty to charges of sexual assault and possession of child pornography. The offences occurred in Sydney Mines between August 2011 and June 2016.
In an agreed statement of facts presented to the court, Rice admitted to beginning a sexual relationship with the girl after she turned 13 and continued until she ended the relationship at the age of 15.
Although there was no evidence that the relationship was forced, it remained illegal as the age of consent in Canada is 16.
During the relationship, Rice made several videos of the girl appearing nude. The girl also told police investigators that she had sent several nude photos of herself to Rice.
During the investigation, police seized a computer and cell phone and found the videos and still images.
In addition to the jail sentence, Rice is now to be a registered sex offender for the remainder of his life and is not to possess firearms or explosives for 10 years. He is also to submit a DNA sample to the national registry.
Consent laws apply to all forms of sexual activity including kissing, fondling, and sexual intercourse.
The law also includes close in age exceptions such as a 14- or 15-year-old consenting to a sexual relationship as long as the partner is less than five years older and there is no relationship of trust, authority, dependency or other condition considered to be exploitative of the young person.
A 16- or 17-year-old cannot consent to a sexual relationship if their partner is in a position of trust or authority over them (teacher, coach), the young person is dependent on their partner for care and support, or the relationship is deemed to exploitative.