A man who sexually assaulted his stepdaughter from 1971 to 1982 was sentenced to four years in prison today in provincial court in St. John’s.
The man, whose name is not being printed to protect the woman’s identity, had pleaded guilty to charges of gross indecency and indecent assault.
His name will also be placed on the national sex registry for 10 years.
The facts of the case state the abuse went on from July 1971 — shortly after he married her mother — and lasted until December 1982, when she finally told her uncle what was going on.
The abuse always took place in the family home, wherever they were living at the time. They lived in various cities and towns — in Ontario and this province — since the man was with the military and family often relocated.
The family was in Ontario when the abuse started, with the man coming to her bedroom, reaching under the covers and fondling her between her legs.
It escalated after the family returned to this province the following year. It happened in every location they lived, including St. John’s, Conception Bay South and Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
Since her mother worked shift work, the girl was often left alone in the house with the man, who regularly molested her, sometimes daily.
He would also watch her when she went to the washroom.
When he showered, and she was the only one in the house, he would walk around naked and then masturbate in front of her.
She kept telling him to stop, but he would not.
If she needed money to go out with her friends, he told her she would have to earn it. He would place $5 in his private area and have her touch him to get it.
To try to avoid his abuse, she would often go to bed wearing clothes and with as many blankets as she could, and wrap them tightly around her. But he would still have her take them off.
He would also watch her shower through the shower doors and would put up the window blind so he could go outside and look at her through the window.
He also had peepholes in her closet wall to watch her get undressed every day.
If they were swimming, he would dive under the water and touch her. He also tried to teach her how to French kiss because he said “boys like that.”
She threatened to tell police if he didn’t stop abusing her, but he didn’t. She would often stay with friends to avoid him, and beg her mother to take her to work with her.
After her uncle told her mother about the abuse, the man admitted what he had done and described his sexual abuse as an addiction.
Her mother is still married to him.
Breaking down in tears on the stand, the woman said, to this day, she still can’t shower or get dressed without the fear she’s being watched.
She said she still has nightmares and wakes up in the middle of the night crying.
She said she has lost her self-confidence and always thinks the worst.
“I had hopes and dreams for my life, but they were taken away at a very early age,” she said.
“They were robbed from me for his own satisfaction — by a man who I trusted to take care of me. He abused that trust.”
She struggled in school, failing two grades, and had a failed marriage, in which she had “two beautiful children” who she once thought would be better off with their father rather than with her.
“I’m a shadow of what I could have been,” she said. “You took away whatever hope I had at a future by killing my past.”