TORONTO — A convicted rapist has been handed an eight-year adult sentence for viciously attacking a sex-trade worker almost 30 years ago, when he was a young offender, in a crime that took decades to solve through DNA.
Court documents show the knife-point rape and robbery of the woman identified as S.W. occurred in Toronto’s gay village in August 1990. The perpetrator can only be identified as R.D.M. because he was 17 years old at the time.
Evidence was R.D.M. and another male who has never been identified attacked S.W. in the early hours of the morning. The victim testified that the men threatened her with a knife, dragged her into a parking lot, and took turns raping her several times. They also stole several hundred dollars she had earned that evening.
Some of S.W.’s clothing was sent for forensic testing but it would take until 2014 for a genetic match to be made to R.D.M., who denied the attack. Based on the DNA evidence, Superior Court Justice Brian O’Marra convicted R.D.M. last September.
At the sentencing hearing in March, the prosecution called for R.D.M. to be punished as an adult, even though he was eight months shy of turning 18 when he committed the crime, and asked for a 10-year term.
The defence called for a youth sentence of 16 months in closed custody or, if sentenced as an adult, a maximum of three years.
In crafting the sentence, O’Marra determined that R.D.M. should be treated as an adult, saying his age at the time of the crime did not make him less morally blameworthy. Prostitutes were known to frequent the area and S.W. was targeted as someone easily attacked, O’Marra said in his reasons this week.
“The attack on the victim was not sophisticated but it was also not spontaneous or impulsive,” O’Marra said. “The concerted actions of the two culprits, including the brandishing of one or two knives, is evidence that they went to the area equipped and ready to inflict sexual violence and robbery.”
O’Marra also noted that R.D.M. had racked up an extensive list of criminal convictions for violence, theft, escaping custody, drugs and forgery after his attack on S.W., most recently in Hamilton in 2014.
As mitigating factors, the judge found that R.D.M. had a difficult childhood and adolescence and battled substance abuse, but has been apparently sober for several months. He also has the support of a spouse and is the father of a young child, court heard.
Ultimately, O’Marra decided a total of eight years on the various counts was appropriate, saying the overriding sentencing principles were general deterrence and denunciation taking into account all the circumstances.
“R.D.M. was an active participant in a protracted sexual assault while armed with a knife,” O’Marra said. “The victim was also threatened with death and robbed. She was a very vulnerable victim.”
Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press