Sex assaults date back 20 years ago

By Susan Gamble, Brantford Expositor


A Norfolk man who pleaded for a conditional sentence and continued to express his innocence was sent to jail for 14 months for sexual abusing two young girls 20 years ago.

Robert Roszmann, 52, was found guilty of two counts of sexual assault by Justice Kevin Sherwood in Simcoe's Ontario Court in November.

Sherwood said the two complainants, who were between five and 10 years old at time of the assaults, were not related to Roszmann but he was a frequent visitor in their homes.

Each woman specifically remembered two incidents from her childhood.

One recalled sitting on Roszmann's knee when he moved her clothing aside and inserted a finger into her vagina. The other remembered the man putting his hand inside her clothing and touching her.

Roszmann denied all the assaults but Sherwood said he didn't accept his evidence.

"The impact on the victims has been significant and lasting," said the judge.

One woman now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and is on medications. She's paranoid about Roszmann finding out where she lives and has panic attacks and trouble sleeping.

The other has been diagnosed with depression and anxiety and worries about seeing Roszmann or experiencing retaliation from his family and friends.

A pre-sentence report, prepared to help the judge decide on Roszmann's punishment, showed the man has a significant criminal record with 19 convictions since 1982 for a variety of crimes but no sexual offences.

Sherwood said Roszmann has a great deal of family support and was described as a person loved by his children and grandchildren and as one who would go above and beyond to help others.

Assistant Crown attorney Lynette Fritzley asked the judge to sentence Roszmann to 18 to 24 months, arguing that aggravating circumstances surrounding the assaults meant a conditional sentence wouldn't be right.

His defence lawyer asked the judge for probation as punishment or a conditional sentence of 12 to 18 months where Roszmann could continue to help care for his mentally challenged son. The lawyer also communicated that his client said the incidents were minor and the young girls wouldn't have known what was happening or let it ruin their lives.

Sherwood said that line of thinking was re-victimizing the two women and indicated a lack of insight and empathy on the part of Roszmann.

"He didn't enter a guilty plea and hasn't accepted responsibility or expressed remorse," said Sherwood. But the judge added that the crimes were committed 20 years ago so Roszmann can't be characterized as someone "preying on children in the community."

Sherwood ruled a conditional sentence would not make a clear statement of denunciation by the court and he sentenced Roszmann to 14 months on each count of sexual assault, to be served together.

Roszmann will have to provide a DNA sample for the national offenders databank, abstain from all weapons use for 10 years and be on the sexual offenders registry for life.

He is not to communicate with his victims and, for the next 10 years, can't be at a public park, swimming area, daycare or community centre unless he's with an adult who knows about his conviction.

He also can't work or volunteer at a job where he would be in a position of authority over

those under 16.

Brantford Expositor