Repeat sexual offender sentenced

A Pelly Crossing man has been sentenced to eight and a half years in prison for a 2010 sexual assault. Joseph Townsend, 58, is described by one assessment as an "unrepentant, essentially untreated sexual offender.

A Pelly Crossing man has been sentenced to eight and a half years in prison for a 2010 sexual assault.

Joseph Townsend, 58, is described by one assessment as an “unrepentant, essentially untreated sexual offender.” He was also classified by the courts as a dangerous offender, which means he will be kept under supervision for 10 years after his release.

After a trial in November 2011, a jury found Townsend guilty of sexually assaulting the adult daughter of his common-law partner while she slept in a tent in the summer of 2010.

The two had been drinking that night.

She fell asleep but woke up to fined Townsend in the tent. Her pants and underwear had been pulled down.

Seven years ago, Townsend pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the same woman, for which he was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

Townsend has a lengthy criminal history, with 75 convictions including common assault, possession of weapons, impaired driving and three previous sexual assaults.

In 2003, he was convicted of sexually assaulting and choking the same woman.

Eleven years earlier he pleaded guilty to another sexual assault and was sentenced to two months in jail.

His first sexual assault conviction came in 1984.

For that violent attack on a 10-year-old girl, which involved a knife, he was sentenced to seven years in a federal prison.

Townsend pleaded guilty to his past convictions for sexual assault, but he now insists on his innocence.

In all cases, he had consensual sex, and the young girl misidentified him as her attacker, he asserts. He claims he was pressured into pleading guilty.

In an examination of Townsend, psychiatrist Dr. Harpreet Khaira Lohrasbe diagnosed him with an anti-social personality disorder and substance abuse/dependency.

Dr. Lohrasbe also noted a disheartening amount of self-deception in Townsend.

“At a time when many men with histories of violence attempt to move toward acceptance and redemption he remains securely ensconced in his self-centeredness, with very little overt guilt, shame or remorse,” said the report.

In handing down his sentence, Yukon Supreme Court Justice Ron Veale said he holds out little hope of Townsend’s rehabilitation.

“I conclude that, in the context of this sexual assault and its repercussions for the victim, and given Mr. Townsend’s lack of insight or remorse, or even acceptance of responsibility, I cannot give great weight to restorative justice or rehabilitation objective which could lead to a lower-term of imprisonment.”

With credit for the time already served, Townsend has slightly more than five years left in his sentence.

Contact Josh Kerr at

joshk@yukon-news.com