Several families affected by a pedophile’s crimes gave powerful statements in Yukon Supreme Court earlier this week as part of the man’s dangerous offender hearing.
The 49-year-old cannot be named to protect the identities of his 13 victims.
He pled guilty to 27 charges related to child pornography and sexually assaulting young girls. His offences took place across the Yukon, Ontario and B.C., spanning dates from 2008 to 2013.
The courtroom was heavy as numerous victim impact statements were read out detailing the guilt, shame and anger borne by the affected families.
But they also shared messages of strength, healing and refusals to be victimized.
One girl read her statement in court Monday morning noting she didn’t want to be there, but felt it was important.
“Today I’m speaking out, and there never should have been any victims in the first place,” she said.
The girl said she had trusted the man, as he was an adult and family friend.
“Now I know that you were in the wrong; everything you did was wrong,” she said.
She also described the damage she has suffered as “tremendous” – and something she wouldn’t wish on her worst enemy.
But she noted that she is no longer ashamed.
“The only one who should hang your head is you,” she told the man.
Finally, she expressed fears about when the man is released from prison.
“Please do not allow this man to be in a position where he can prey on another child again,” she told Justice Ron Veale.
The mother of several girls also read an impact statement Monday as a family photo was projected on screen behind her.
She noted her daughters are not just numbered victims but unique girls who she is proud of. And she said she and her husband will fight to make sure their family is OK.
The woman described being shocked and feeling “rage, betrayal and pure disgust” after finding out about the man’s crimes.
She noted she had considered him as a close friend who shared core values and religious beliefs.
“What you’ve done is not only sick, it’s incredibly selfish,” she told him.
And she said waiting for the man to be sentenced has been “long, stressful and painful.”
On Tuesday morning, a father read from his statement which had contentious passages redacted.
He spoke of a “waking and sleeping nightmare” and a pain “so powerful it brands your soul.”
The father noted the profound scale of the harm the man has inflicted, calling it a “poisoned gift” that has destroyed relationships, joy, truth and innocence.
But he said he refuses to be a victim of the man he once called a close family friend.
Pointing directly at the man, he told him, “We are not your victims.”
The father said the man’s crimes have rendered all men suspect for him.
“I’m ashamed to be a man as long as there are men like (him),” he said.
And he said it is time for the courts to “wake up” and address endemic violence against women and children.
Finally, the father noted he is working everyday to forgive the man in order to heal and let go of hatred.
“I refuse to carry him on my back for the rest of my life,” he said.
Also on Tuesday, art pieces from two mothers were entered as visual impact statements.
And Crown prosecutor Susan Bogle read two statements from a pair of grandparents as well as another mother.
Additionally, the man’s ex-wife spoke about how his crimes have affected their family.
She was emotional as she recounted the day she learned about what he had done, saying her world fell apart. And she said she will forever ask herself how she didn’t know.
The woman noted she loved many of the victims like her own daughter, and that she was close friends with their families.
“I care very deeply for these families,” she said.
Along with losing many of those friendships, the woman said, she has also lost the ability to trust, and suffers nightmares.
She also said her two children have suffered because of her ex-husband’s crimes.
“He has brought shame on them, and they have both been threatened, bullied and ostracized because of it,” she said.
But despite the disgust that she feels, the woman said, she also feels compelled to help her ex-husband from reoffending, and hopes that his regret will motivate him to change.
She also noted that she and her children are “more than just the unfortunate cast-offs of a child molester.”
Crown and defence lawyers were expected to deliver their final submissions on the dangerous offender designation today.
Crown prosecutor Noel Sinclair had previously stated he expects they will recommend a sentence of 14 to 16 years’ imprisonment for the man plus a long-term supervision order.