The hearing of a dangerous offender application for a former Yukon man who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing 13 girls over seven years is underway in Whitehorse. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)

Dangerous offender hearing underway for former Yukon man who sexually abused 13 girls

The man pleaded guilty to sexually abusing 13 girls over seven years in the Yukon, B.C. and Ontario

The hearing of a dangerous offender application for a former Yukon man who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing 13 girls over seven years is underway in Whitehorse.

The man, who cannot be named in order to protect the identity of his victims, pleaded guilty in October to nine charges of sexual interference, eight charges of producing child pornography and two counts of voyeurism. His 11 victims were all girls under the age of 14.

On Feb. 12, as the hearing got underway, the man pleaded guilty to another eight charges related to offences he committed in Ontario and British Columbia that involved two additional victims.

The Crown is seeking a dangerous offender designation for the man, which, under the Criminal Code of Canada, would allow the court to give him an indeterminate prison sentence with no chance of parole for seven years. In the alternative, the Crown is seeking that the man be designated a long-term offender, with 14 to 16 years in jail and 10 years of supervision following his release.

The application is being heard by Yukon Supreme Court Justice Ron Veale, with Crown attorneys Noel Sinclair and Susan Bogle arguing the application. Defence lawyer Vincent Larochelle is representing the man, who has been transferred from a B.C. jail to the Yukon.

A total of nine charges that the man was facing in Ontario and British Columbia have also been waived into the Yukon. In the Ontario indictment, the man pleaded guilty to one count each of sexual assault and sexual interference. In the British Columbia indictment, the man pleaded guilty to three counts of possessing and accessing child pornography, one count of voyeurism and one count each of sexual assault and sexual interference.

The Crown withdrew one charge of luring a child on the British Columbia indictment.

It’s expected that the sexual assault charges will also be dropped at some point on the basis of the Kienapple Principle, which is essentially a rule against multiple convictions for the same offence.

Following the guilty pleas, Bogle read the agreed statements of facts to the court.

The Ontario offence took place in July or August of 2012, when the man was at a family gathering with the victim. They were playing in the lake and the victim was “launching off the accused’s hips” and into the water, according to the agreed statement of facts, and every time, the man would touch the inside of the victim’s thighs. The man eventually touched the victim’s genital area through her bathing suit, the statement continues, and after a brief struggle, the victim got away and told her mother what happened.

The victim’s parents sent an email confronting the man and telling him he was no longer welcome at gatherings but did not report the incident to police, the statement says, because they didn’t want the girl to relive the trauma. The incident eventually came to light after police arrested the man and interviewed him in British Columbia in 2015.

The B.C. agreed statement of facts says that the man sexually assaulted a victim at his home when her family visited him from the Yukon in December 2014. He had also previously sexually abused the same victim while he was living in the Yukon. While in British Columbia, the man also filmed another victim taking a shower. The victim was unaware the man was filming her until police showed her stills from the video during their investigation.

The man was arrested by the Delta Police Department in February 2015, according to the agreed statement of facts, and upon searching his computer and other digital devices, investigators found thousands of images of “commercial” child pornography, some of which investigators believe feature children as young as 6, as well as images the man took of his victims.

On Feb. 13, the second day of the application, the court heard from psychiatrist Shabehram Lohrasbe, an expert in forensic psychiatry with experience in dangerous and long-term offender applications and who interviewed the man in February 2017.

Lohrasbe was called as a witness by the court, meaning he can be cross-examined by both the Crown and defence.

Questioned by the Crown, Lohrasbe testified that, based on the number of victims, the severity of the sexual assaults, the fact that the man actively sought out child pornography and has acknowledged his actions leaves little doubt of his pedophilic tendencies. There’s also little doubt that the man will require the “highest intensity” of treatment available, Lohrasbe said, and, should the man offend again, that the damage to any future victims would be “tremendous.”

The man has exhibited avoidant personality traits, Lohrasbe said, meaning the man avoided self-confrontation and self-awareness. The danger in that, the psychiatrist explained, is that the less self-aware someone is, the less control that person has over controlling and challenging “dark thoughts.” Substance abuse is the most common manifestation of avoidant personalities, Lohrasbe said, but in this case, the man’s addiction appears to be child pornopgrahy and sexually abusing minors.

Lohrasbe also noted the man’s “lack of psychopathic features,” that he suffers from anxiety and, during the interview, appeared to show shame and remorse over his actions. While there’s no cure for pedophilia, the urges can be treated and managed, Lohrasbe said, but that requires “brutal honesty” and the full commitment of the offender during treatment and for the rest of the offender’s life.

The man’s not quite there yet, Lohrasbe said, but has “come some distance” from the attitudes he had while he was committing the offences. However, Lohrasbe said that in his opinion, when it comes to therapeutic needs, the man would need to be under supervision for the rest of his life.

The hearing is expected to continue through until Friday, after which it will resume Feb. 26.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

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