Made victims feel unsafe, serial groper sent to jail

The Ontario Court of Justice at 44 Queen Street in Brantford, Ontario. Brian Thompson/Brantford Expositor/Postmedia Network Brian Thompson / Brian Thompson/The Expositor

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A serial groper was sent to jail for his fourth sexual assault in three years despite his tearful plea to a judge.

Ronnie Steven Reid, 36, told Justice Colette Good that he’s anguished over how his actions have affected his latest victim.

“I’ve destroyed her,” said Reid.

“If I could see her, I’d tell her I’m so sorry for doing this to you but it’s not going to make things better. She lives in fear because of me.”

Last November, Reid groped the buttocks of a female university student walking along Dalhousie Street. The startled woman turned and either fell or was pushed down.

“Some might look at this type of offence and think it’s not that serious, but it had an impact on the victim,” said Crown attorney Andrew Falls.

“She’s afraid to walk alone and is always checking over her shoulder. She was just on her way to school and now she’s afraid in her community.”

It’s not Reid’s first conviction for the same offence.

In 2016, he grabbed the bottoms of a three young women. He was convicted of three counts of sexual assault in October 2017 and sentenced to six months in jail. Two of the victims were 14 years old.

The judge noted that Reid grew up “without the benefit of a stable, loving supportive home.”

Apprehended by the children’s aid society three times before he was two, Reid eventually was made a ward of the state and “bounced around” to various foster homes, said Good.

He started huffing gasoline with older boys when he was four. A few years later he was sexually abused by a foster parent but his caseworker didn’t believe his story.

Reid began acting out sexually and using drugs. Once out of the foster system, he was moved to various group homes.

“When someone so young is bounced around from home to home they’re not going to feel loved or cared for,” said Good.

Eventually he settled down with a stable woman and they had three children. But, after Reid’s arrest last November, a child protection worker told his wife the children would be apprehended if she remained with Reid. So, he left the home and no longer has a relationship with his family.

During his pre-sentence custody, Reid agreed to participate in a risk assessment process where he was evaluated as a “high risk to re-offend” if he doesn’t get treated for his issues.

Falls asked the judge to consider sentencing Reid to spend a year in a facility where he would get that treatment. But defence lawyer Eric Angevine said his client has already taken the steps to deal with anger management, drug use and low self-esteem.

“What I keep hearing from Mr. Reid is such a powerful self-loathing,” said Angevine.

“His self-esteem is so badly damaged. He’s been victimized in a number of different ways. So, when I talk with him, he asks, ‘What good is going to come from further custody?’”

Reid told the judge he would experience more punishment by remaining out of jail.

“Sending me to jail is a free pass. It’s not going to teach me anything,” he said.

“What’s really going to teach me is you keeping me out here in the world where I have to relive every moment. I need that torture.”

Good disagreed, saying a jail sentence is appropriate.

“This is the fourth time you’ve interfered with a member of this community and made them feel unsafe,” she told Reid.

“Although these assaults are on the lower end of the scale, it is very concerning that females in this community can’t walk down the street without being groped by a strange man.”

The judge sentenced Reid to 118 days of time already served plus another eight months for a global sentence of a year.

She ordered that, during his two-year probation, Reid never be under the influence of alcohol in a public place.

“I know your path has been difficult but when you get a handle on this issue, there’s no reason you can’t come back to the community and return to being a good dad and a hard worker.”