A Norwich man who was like a surrogate father to his young victim was sentenced to three years in prison for grooming the young woman as a sex partner.
The 38-year-old, who can’t be named in order to protect his victim, pleaded guilty last year to sexual assault and sexual exploitation crimes that dated back to 2004.
Justice Kevin Sherwood sentenced the man in Simcoe’s Ontario Court recently.
“This young lady will have to suffer, likely for the remainder of her life for the actions you have taken,” Sherwood told the man, listing the sex acts the older man had lured his young victim to do, over a period of years, all without any sort of protection.
“The appellate courts have made it clear that, for that sort of abuse, penitentiary sentences, even for first offenders, are appropriate,” said the judge.
But he agreed with both the Crown and defence lawyers to sentence the man to the lower end of the sentencing range for the abuse because it was obvious the victim couldn’t be counted on to testify at trial.
Assistant Crown attorney Gracie Romano said the fearful victim had twice backed away from giving police a statement about the abuse after revealing it to an adult.
The woman had planned on presenting a victim impact statement to the judge, but told Romano it was just too difficult for her.
Romano admitted that could have ended the Crown’s case against the man, who had originally pleaded not guilty.
“This plea spared her from having to testify and she was present in the court for his guilty plea,” said Romano. “That brought her comfort.”
The judge said, even without the victim’s statement, he believed the consequences of the crimes were “profound and likely permanent.”
When invited to speak, the man said he had nothing to say because his victim wasn’t in court during the sentencing.
“To my client’s credit,” said defence lawyer Shawn Swarts, “he elected to take responsibility and plead guilty. He’s ready to do his time and move on.”
Sherwood said the man’s crimes were worsened by the fact he committed them while in a position of trust and his victim was younger than 18.
After the man is released from prison, he will be on the sexual offenders registry for life and must not have weapons in his possession for 20 years.
The judge ordered that the man can’t be within two kilometres of where his victim resides and, for 15 years, he can’t go to public parks, swimming areas, playgrounds, day cares, schools and community centres.
The man will have to provide a sample of his DNA for the sexual offenders database and, for five years after his release, won’t be able to work or volunteer at any job that brings him into contact with those under 16 years of age.