Warning: graphic content
A man in Newfoundland and Labrador has been sentenced to more than three years in prison for sexually assaulting two of his stepdaughters.
In a decision rendered July 22, Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador Justice Kendra Goulding bluntly assessed the crime’s impact on the young victims.
“He destroyed the security and peacefulness of the children’s home environment,” Goulding wrote in her decision. “He destroyed the innocence of their childhood.”
The man received a 40-month sentence for his crimes. Because of a publication ban, The Telegram cannot print details in the case that may identify the victims or other witnesses.
The man, who entered a guilty plea on the first day of a scheduled seven-day trial, started abusing the older daughter a few years into his relationship with her mother. According to the agreed statement of facts for the case, he was responsible for her children while she worked.
The abuse continued for a few years, happening three to four times weekly. He abused her private parts with his finger, licked her face and neck, and threatened to tell the victim’s mother about her bad behaviour outside the home if she tried to expose him.
After a few years, a confrontation took place involving the man, the older daughter and her mother. At that time, the girl told her mother the man had touched her, though she did not go into much detail at the time.
The mother moved out along with her children, but later moved back into a house with the man. He stopped abusing the older girl, but moved on to his younger stepdaughter. A few incidents took place over the next few years.
It was following an argument between the man and the mother of the victims a few years ago that the two girls told their mother about what he did to them.
He claimed to commit the crimes after smoking marijuana. Justice Goulding did not buy his suggestion drug use could be partially blamed for his crimes.
“If he intended to somehow explain or excuse or rationalize his sexually deviant behavior, he did not succeed whatsoever,” she wrote.
Reading her victim impact statement, the older daughter described her childhood as a nightmare. She has since struggled with mental health issues. The younger girl told the court she does not like to leave home because she is fearful of encountering the man.
The man initially faced 18 charges in all, of which the Crown agreed to drop 16 after he entered guilty pleas on two charges. The Crown was looking for a sentence of 18 to 24 months for each charge that would be served consecutively, while the man’s defence lawyer was looking for concurrent sentences of less than two years. The man had no previous record.