An Ontario man who sexually abused his young daughter and a teenage family friend has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison after a judge found he showed a lack of insight into his actions.
The man, identified only as J.S., pleaded guilty to one count of sexual touching in connection with his daughter and one of sexual assault related to the friend.
Court heard the sexual assaults occurred while the daughter — whose parents are divorced — was visiting her father, and spanned four years, starting when she was eight.
After she came forward about the abuse in 2016, court heard another young woman, a close family friend, said J.S. had sexually assaulted her after a party while she was passed out from drinking.
Prosecutors sought a sentence of seven years, while defence lawyers had argued J.S., 39, should face a year and 90 days behind bars, to increase his chances of rehabilitation.
In a recently released ruling, an Ottawa judge said that while J.S. is considered to pose a low risk of reoffending, his comments to a psychiatrist who assessed him “indicate a serious lack of insight into the seriousness of his actions and the risks that he presents to children.”
“J.S. can seek treatment in jail or outside jail as he chooses, but in my view rehabilitation is not a significant factor in this sentencing,” Ontario Superior Court Justice Julianne Parfett said in her decision.
The psychiatrist noted J.S. knows sex with children is wrong, “but seems to have incomplete understanding of the idea of consent and the (fact) that children cannot consent to sex,” according to the ruling.
There were several aggravating factors in the case, including the man’s abuse of his position of trust and the fact that he sexually assaulted the girls in their own bedrooms, Parfett wrote.
J.S. sexually abused his daughter for years, “essentially robbing (her) of her childhood,” she said.
“J.S. was in a position of trust in relation to his daughter and in my view, was also in a role akin to trust in relation to (the friend),” the judge added. “She was a family friend, but one who was living almost full-time in the S. family home, had her own room and was considered as a member of the family.”
What’s more, “sexually assaulting someone who is not capable of refusing consent due to the excessive consumption of alcohol is particularly nasty,” the ruling said.
There were also several mitigating factors, such as J.S.’s mental health issues, for which he has sought treatment, and the fact that he has expressed remorse and apologized to the complainants and their families, the judge wrote.
Court heard J.S. would rub his daughter’s genitals after she went to sleep during parental access visits, continuing even after she tried to push his hand away.
The friend, meanwhile, started spending a lot of time at the family’s home after her parents separated and was initially “flattered by the attentions of an older male,” the judge wrote.
She attended a New Year’s party with the family and drank too much, then was escorted home and fell asleep, the decision said. She later heard someone else come into the home and woke up to J.S. performing oral sex on her, the document said.
“J.S. took advantage of a childhood crush and used it to his advantage to first groom and then sexually assault her,” Parfett wrote.
Both complainants told the court the abuse made it difficult for them to trust people afterwards, the decision said. J.S.’s daughter also said she felt guilty for coming forward, it said.
“Her family was broken apart by the revelations and (she) no longer has regular contact with her step-brother with whom she was close,” the document said.
“These consequences reflect the devastating impact that sexual abuse has on the children who suffer it,” the judge said.
J.S. also faces other restrictions, such as a 10-year ban on possessing weapons. He is also barred from contacting the complainants and their families and will be added to the sexual offenders registry for life.
Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press