Watson Lake man gets 38 months for rapes

A Watson Lake man was sentenced Friday to 38 months in jail for sexually assaulting two young women. Kenneth Stewart, 33, has five months left to serve at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre after credit for time spent in custody.

A Watson Lake man was sentenced Friday to 38 months in jail for sexually assaulting two young women.

Kenneth Stewart, 33, has five months left to serve at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre after credit for time spent in custody.

He will then serve three years probation, under strict conditions to avoid alcohol and stay in the territory. His name will be on Canada’s sex offender registry for 10 years from the date of sentencing.

The first incident occurred on Aug. 20, 2010. His victim, 19, had been drinking heavily at various locations around Watson Lake.

She remembers the evening only in bits and pieces, but recalls Stewart on top of her while she cried and told him to stop.

She later went to the town’s nursing station, where a tampon was removed that had been painfully pushed up inside her.

Stewart was arrested on Nov. 16, and released the same day on an undertaking, which prohibited him from consuming alcohol.

The next day, he attended a party where witnesses saw him dancing and making out with a 13-year-old girl.

One witness informed Stewart that she was underage and told him to leave her alone. Stewart and the victim left the party together.

The next thing the victim remembers is being with Stewart in a bathroom stall at the Watson Lake Recreation Centre. He told her not to tell anyone what had just happened.

Her DNA was later found on Stewart’s underwear.

In a victim impact statement, the girl wrote that the incident stole her self esteem and she has tried to kill herself twice since then.

“I am too young to deal with this kind of stuff,” the statement read.

The court heard that Stewart has a Grade 11 education with training in construction and mining. He was on social assistance and was couchsurfing with friends at the time of the offences.

He has two children of his own, ages 11 and 13, who have mostly been raised by their mother and also by Stewart’s mother.

Judge Ron Veale said that despite the fact that Stewart pleaded guilty to the two assaults, he has yet to take appropriate responsibility for his crimes.

The judge told the court that Stewart has a “serious alcohol problem that needs to be addressed.”

Stewart has said in the past that his drinking “only hurts him,” but Veale said that this attests to a “very serious misunderstanding” of the effects that Stewart’s actions have had on his victims and on his family.

An alcohol counsellor who had worked with Stewart noted that he continued to defend his drinking and did not seem ready to face his problem on a serious level.

Veale also noted that Stewart continues to show a lack of respect for women.

He has said that “women are evil and can’t be trusted,” and said of his victims that they “have problems” and are not his type.

In determining his sentence, Veale also considered Stewart’s First Nation heritage, and the particular circumstances of his upbringing.

The criminal code states that “all available sanctions other than imprisonment that are reasonable in the circumstances should be considered for all offenders, with particular attention to the circumstances of aboriginal offenders.”

Both of Stewart’s parents attended residential school, and they both drank.

They had their culture stolen from them, said Veale.

As a child, Stewart sometimes had to leave his home for periods of time because of drinking and violence.

Veale acknowledged that Stewart suffered from the “intergenerational effects” of the residential school legacy.

Stewart had no previous criminal record.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at jronson@yukon-news.com

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