A man who molested his nine-year-old stepdaughter has been sent to jail despite his plea to serve his time under house arrest.
“I’m kind of begging (for) the mercy of the court here because this is not the person I am,” said the 50-year-old offender who can’t be named because it would identify the young victim.
Judge Shauna Hewitt-Michta, however, noted that conditional sentences for such crimes are reserved only for extraordinary cases. This wasn’t one of them, she ruled, and sentenced the offender to five months in jail.
The crime was committed on March 22, 2011 at the family’s Westman home.
The offender had been in a common-law relationship with the victim’s mom for nearly all the victim’s life. He was the only father figure the girl had ever known.
Crown attorney Rich Lonstrup described the offence when the offender pleaded guilty to sexual assault on Feb. 27.
The girl was lying in bed with her stepfather, which wasn’t unusual as she had just wanted to “hang out” with him.
The court heard that the man was watching pornographic movies at the time. However, during sentencing he maintained the movies were not porn but “adult shows.”
The girl had turned her eyes away from the screen but would turn around periodically to check if the movie was over.
When the movie ended, the girl had begun to fall asleep but felt her stepdad licking her chest. He then stuck his hands down her pyjama bottoms and groped her for about two minutes.
The girl rolled over and the groping stopped, but she told a family friend a couple of days later. That friend told the girl’s mother, but it was Child and Family Services that notified police.
The stepfather was on a number of medications at the time and said he doesn’t recall the incident.
He failed to attend court for his original sentencing date in April and was finally sentenced on Tuesday.
At some point the girl was apprehended by CFS and it isn’t clear if she remains in a foster home.
Defence lawyer Bob Harrison asked for a conditional sentence for his client.
Hewitt-Michta noted that the offender had been sexually assaulted himself as a youth and struggles with post traumatic stress disorder.
His physical condition — a form of degenerative arthritis — would make a jail sentence tough to serve, Hewitt-Michta noted, adding that the man had already started to take counselling.
Nonetheless, the judge ruled that house arrest wouldn’t be appropriate and imposed five months in real jail.
The offender’s jail term will be followed by two years probation during which he’s not to be alone with children under 16 years old.
Court heard that the relationship between the stepfather and the girl’s mother is currently “on hold,” at least. As part of probation, he’s to have no contact with the victim or her mother.
For the next 10 years, he’s not to attend parks, playgrounds or daycares, or other public places children under 16 years old tend to gather.
He also can’t hold a job or do volunteer work that puts him in a position of trust over children under 16 years old.
For failing to make his original sentencing date, he also received one day in jail.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 21, 2012