WARNING: This story contains graphic content.
When he first sexually abused his stepson, the boy was five years old.
It started as fondling and escalated into throwing the child on the bed and performing anal intercourse.
The boy described the frequency of the assaults over a four-year period as "a lot."
Now, seven years later, the man responsible for the abuse has been sentenced to five years in prison.
The 40-year-old man from the Northeast Avalon - whose name can't be published in order to protect the identity of the victim - was given the jail term in Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John's Thursday afternoon.
Justice Valerie Marshall gave the man the customary two-for-one credit for the six months and two weeks he's been in custody, leaving less than four years left to serve on his sentence.
The man was found guilty of three charges - sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching and sexual assault of a person under 14 years of age - last month following a two-day trial.
The incidents occurred between 2001 and 2005 during times when the man's common-law wife was out of the house.
In his victim impact statement, the boy said he had trusted the man and felt betrayed by him. He said he now has difficulty trusting people, has nightmares, and has difficulty sleeping and making friends. His school grades have also suffered.
He's been getting help from psychologists, psychiatrists, sexual assault counsellors and guidance counsellors.
In her statement, the boy's mother said she has feelings of "shock and blame."
In reaching her sentencing decision, Marshall took into consideration the boy's young age, the "very serious" nature of the acts and the breach of trust.
"He was supposed to be protecting (the boy), rather than violating him," Marshall stated in her written decision.
She also noted the moderate degree of violence used, recognizing that not much is necessary "to coerce a vulnerable child," and the man's prior criminal record, which includes convictions for break and enters, theft, assault with a weapon and impaired driving.
The sentence was in keeping with what Crown prosecutor Wendy Zdebiak had requested. Defence lawyer Derek Hogan had suggested a four-year jail term.
As part of his sentence, the man must submit a DNA sample, is prohibited from possessing a firearm for 10 years and will have his name on the national sex offenders' registry for the next 20 years.