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Jail time for 'horrendous' sexual assault

A "brain-damaged" Brandon man has been sentenced to four months in jail for raping a young girl when he was a teen.

Judge John Combs described the sexual assault as a "horrendous offence."

"A very young child was brutally attacked," Combs said on Thursday during sentencing in Brandon court.

The offender was 17 years old at the time of the assault and the girl was seven to eight years old.

The victim was a relative of the teen’s foster parent.

The offender is now 20 years old, and in December he pleaded guilty to sexual interference for raping the girl on one occasion and molesting her on others.

The offences were committed between December 2009 and July 2010.

Crown attorney Marycia Kruk said it was months or years before the girl told family members what had happened and the assaults came to light.

Even though he’s now an adult, the man can’t be named because he was a youth at the time of his offending.

Court heard that on one occasion, the offender entered the girl’s room at a Brandon home, pulled her out of bed by her foot and then raped her.

In a statement to police, the offender claimed that he was high on prescription pills at the time and had blacked out.

During sentencing, defence lawyer Philip Sieklicki said that his client claims to have been "overdosing" on anti-psychotic medication.

Sieklicki said psychotic episodes are among the side effects that can result when a person who isn’t psychotic takes such medication.

Citing his client’s difficult upbringing, Sieklicki argued for lengthy probation or deferred custody, which is similar to a house arrest sentence for an adult.

The offender was born 12 weeks prematurely with a birth weight of three pounds and has been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

At points in his life, he was also been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and poor impulse control.

Sieklicki said the offender, who has a low IQ and functions at the level of an individual with a mild mental handicap, lived in a number of foster homes when he was a child.

Despite those challenges, Sieklicki said his client graduated from high school, has studied carpentry and has improved his life lately with the help of his adult girlfriend.

Kruk, on the other hand, requested a sentence of four months custody, followed by two months supervision in the community and then two years probation.

Describing the offender as "brain damaged," Combs said the offender’s various challenges may have affected his ability to appreciate consequences and control his behaviour.

The man also had a limited previous criminal record, but in the end Combs said he was left with no choice but to impose jail due to the seriousness of the offence.

"At the end of the day, I come to the conclusion that the only option available to me is a period of custody," Combs said.

He imposed the Crown’s recommended sentence of four months in jail, then two months supervision in the community followed by two years probation.

While in the community and on probation, the offender can’t be alone with children under 14 years old without another adult present. While on probation, he’s to also take sex offender counselling.

In a sad footnote to the case, this was just one of three men to be charged with sexually assaulting the same girl in separate, unrelated, incidents.

Two other men have also pleaded guilty to sexual interference.

One was accused of assaulting the girl between Dec. 1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2010, when he 20 years old.

The other was 20 years old when he allegedly assaulted the girl between Jan. 1, 2011 and Feb. 5, 2012.

The men can’t be named because it may identify the young victim.

» ihitchen@brandonsun.com

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition February 22, 2013

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A "brain-damaged" Brandon man has been sentenced to four months in jail for raping a young girl when he was a teen.

Judge John Combs described the sexual assault as a "horrendous offence."

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A "brain-damaged" Brandon man has been sentenced to four months in jail for raping a young girl when he was a teen.

Judge John Combs described the sexual assault as a "horrendous offence."

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