Provincial court Judge James Walsh is not one to ever mince his words and he made no exception Friday when he sentenced a man for child-luring crimes.
Saying the man’s actions amounted to “psychological sexual violence” against the child, Walsh made it clear to the man that the crimes he committed were his responsibility alone, despite his attempts to blame the 13-year-old.
“The victim is not responsible for what occurred in this case,” Walsh said sternly. “The victim should be commended for bringing the situation to the attention of her (adult) sister. Her sister should be commended for confronting and outing the accused for his reprehensible actions.”
Walsh made himself even more clear.
“He was the adult, not the 13-year-old victim. Nobody forced him to make the videos, nobody forced him to send them to the victim, nobody forced him to demand that she take photographs of herself and send them to him.”
The man, who cannot be named in order to protect the identity of the child, attended court by video from prison and said nothing as Walsh delivered his sentencing decision: three years in prison for luring a child via computer, making sexually explicit material available to a child, accessing child pornography and breaching the conditions of his bail. The man had also been convicted of exposing his genitals to a child, but the conviction was stayed since it is included in the other offences.
During the man’s trial, he turned his head and shielded his eyes as prosecutor Nicole Hurley displayed for the court the two masturbation videos and the photo of his penis he had sent to the child one night in 2018. He was 27 at the time.
The girl, who was in the courtroom for Friday’s sentencing, testified at trial she had been chatting with the man, who was known to her family, on the evening in question. Later in the night he sent her a Facebook message asking her to “send nudes.”
After sending her the videos and photo, the man repeatedly asked her for images, telling her it was her turn and she had to do it. The girl sent him a semi-nude photo and a 30-second video, then deleted the text conversation as he had asked. She immediately told her sister what had happened.
“(The child) just told me what you did and what she did. You better delete what she sent you. She is here crying and scared. WTF is wrong with you?” the woman wrote to the accused.
“It’s f---ed up, I know,” the man replied. "I didn’t want to do it, please don’t tell anyone. I wasn’t thinking. I’m sick to my stomach and I feel dizzy.”
The woman reported the situation to police the next day.
The man’s face was not in the images he had sent, but both the complainant and her sister testified they recognized the bedding and the headboard in the background.
In a recorded statement to police, the man acknowledged having been aware of the girl’s age, but denied sending the images, suggesting instead that someone may have broken into his home and framed him.
“The accused has expressed no remorse for his actions,” the judge said Friday. “The accused’s anger towards the victim is completely unjustified.”
Walsh noted the man has a significant criminal record, which includes break and entry, property crimes and 23 convictions for breaching court orders.
The man has been in custody since Walsh remanded him at the end of his trial. With credit given for the time he has spent awaiting sentencing, he has 2 ½ years left on his jail sentence.
Walsh also ordered the man to register as a sex offender for life, prohibited him from having unsupervised contact with children and attending public places where they can reasonably be expected to be present for a period of five years after his release, and compelled him to submit a DNA sample to a national police database.
Hurley had argued for a jail sentence of between three and four years for the man, while defence lawyer Jeff Slade had argued for a term of 2 ½ to three years.
Tara Bradbury is a justice reporter in St. John's.