A 52-year-old man from a small Yukon community is facing 15 months in jail and a two-year probation for sexual exploitation.
Judge Peter Chisholm sentenced the man last Friday. His identity cannot be published to protect the victim, and the Star is not identifying the community to strengthen that protection.
The judge explained that there was an abuse of power that took place against someone who was vulnerable.
Chisholm said he had an Indigenous offender before him, with relevant Gladue factors at play, though not the most severe ones he has heard.
The man’s family has a history with residential schools, and he has also gone through some recent hardships with the death of his wife in 2017.
Chisholm said the case before him is serious, especially with a 34-year age difference between the man and his victim.
He said this was a clear abuse of a position of trust that took place over a long period of time – and only stopped once the man was caught.
According to the court file, the abuse lasted from May 1, 2004 to Aug. 3, 2015. The man was arrested on Aug. 30, 2015.
The judge explained the victim had moved into the man’s home – which he shared with his wife – to deal with personal issues and depression.
“He was a trusted adult to her (victim),” Chisholm said.
Chisholm said the man will not get any benefit from any mitigating factors found.
The victim did not file a victim impact statement – in fact, the victim wrote a letter of support for the man.
The judge mentioned that the victim’s mother is concerned for her child because the victim doesn’t want to talk about what happened, and seems to just want to move on.
Chisholm was satisfied with the results of a Sept. 17, 2017 risk assessment, which showed the man not to be a risk. That said, the judge felt the man could benefit from sex offender treatment.
So far, the man has not followed up on any of the treatment opportunities available to him.
Along with the 15-month imprisonment and two-year probation, the sentence includes several conditions.
The man must have no contact with the victim, is subject to a 10-year firearm prohibition, must give DNA for the national database, must be on the sex offender registry for 20 years and must participate in all program opportunities.
The man’s lawyer, Jennifer Cunningham, argued to have the sentence begin in one week’s time.
Crown prosecutor Jean-Benoit Deschamps disagreed, saying the sentence should begin immediately after the proceedings.
Chisholm asked her to provide a provision that would allow him to delay the imposition.
Court stood down for a brief period while lawyers tried to find such a provision.
It reconvened after the short break and learned Cunningham was not able to find a provision.
Chisholm thus sided with Deschamps, imposing the sentence immediately.
He believed that no matter what the sentence, there needs to be a deterrence, and the offender needs to be made aware of the harm he or she did to the community.
Chisholm pointed out that any sentence should reflect the severity of the offence, taking proportionality into consideration.
Judges need to ask three questions: does the sentence reflect the gravity of case, does it renew public faith in the justice system and does it take the victim into account?
All aggravating and mitigating circumstances need to be considered, he said. Judges also need to consider if the sentence reflects what other offenders received for the same offence.
He added that sentencing is an individualized process.
“No two cases are identical,” he said.