Warning: graphic content
A Newfoundland man has been sentenced to 15 months in jail for sexual assault.
Family and supporters of Chad Michael Walsh, 34, started sobbing when Judge Colin Flynn handed down the sentence in Newfoundland and Labrador provincial court Wednesday afternoon, and a handcuffed Walsh was led out of the courtroom. Walsh had been found guilty earlier this year for the May 21, 2011, assault, in which a woman awoke to find a drunk Walsh touching her vagina.
In his sentencing, Flynn rejected the recommendations of both the Crown attorney — who asked for a sentence of about three years — and defence — who asked for a conditional or suspended sentence. Flynn noted the assault was intrusive, finding that Walsh had touched the victim’s vagina with his erect penis, but said there was no evidence of penetration. “All sexual assaults are violent,” said Flynn, but he added that in this case the violence was limited to the sexual assault, with no additional violence, such as grabbing the victim. Flynn also noted that the victim was frightened and traumatized by the assault, further exacerbated by her working relationship with Walsh’s wife.
Mitigating factors, said Flynn, were that Walsh had no criminal record and is at low risk to reoffend, with strong support from family and friends.
In addition to the 15 months, Walsh was also sentenced to a year of probation, was ordered to have no contact with the complainant, must surrender a DNA sample and will be included on a registry of sexual offenders for 20 years.