Two Whati men were sentenced this week in similar cases of sexual assault involving a minor.
One man, sentenced Tuesday, is facing two years in prison for a major sexual assault.
The other, sentenced Wednesday, will serve two months as he and the victim were interrupted before the assault occurred.
In Tuesday’s sentencing, the court heard that in September 2018, the offender, a man in his early 20s, called the teenage victim and invited her to hang out at his residence in Whati. She came over and the two then went to another house to smoke cannabis.
The man said “my girlfriend won’t find out,” locked the door, and told the girl to take her clothes off, the court heard.
In the agreed upon statement of facts, Crown prosecutor Trevor Johnson told the court that the victim did not consent to have sex with him and that she “said nothing because she was scared.”
In his statement to RCMP upon arrest, the man told police that he had believed the girl to be even younger than she was.
This, Johnson said, increases the offenders “moral blameworthiness” since he thought he was assaulting a 12 or 13 year old, even though that was not the case.
Justice Karan Shaner accepted the joint sentencing submission of two years less a day. The man’s sentence will be followed by 12 months on probation where he will be prohibited from contacting the victim or going to her residence or place of work.
The court heard that the offender was raised by adoptive parents in a “loving and structural upbringing,” defence counselor Baljindar Rattan said.
The offender learned of his adoption as a teenager, which sent him into a depression. He began experimenting with alcohol and marijuana soon after, Rattan said.
The man has a high school diploma and hopes to continue his education in the trades once released from custody.
Addressing the court, the man said that he takes “full responsibility” for his actions.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “It’s hard sometimes.”
With his 22 day credit from time served, the offender faces a remaining 23 months.
In Wednesday’s sentencing, the offender, in his late 20s, went to the victims house to sell her cannabis. At the time of the offence she was 14 years old.
When the man told her the cost of the drugs she said she didn’t have any money and began to unzip his pants. In the agreed upon statement of facts read by the Crown, the man understood the girl was offering sexual favours in exchange for cannabis. He did not stop her.
Before the events went any further, however, the girl’s mother came home.
In a victim impact statement Johnson read to the court, the girl said that she is “not the same person because of the incident.”
She said that she has lost her family’s trust and that she no longer feels safe in the community.
“A lot of people in the community talk about what happened,” she wrote in the statement. “This made me upset to the point that I want to kill myself.”
The man will serve 60 days in prison, less 10 days for time served leaving him with 50 days remaining. He will then be on an 18 month probation where he is barred from contact with the victim.
In both cases Johnson submits that a young girl in a remote community, alone in a home with a much older man makes them vulnerable and that denunciation and deterrence are key considerations for sentencing.
In both cases a DNA order and Sexual Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA) order were put in place to add their information to the sex offender registry.