R v RO, 2021 BCPC 29

An Indigenous offender, after consideration of Gladue factors, was sentenced to 4 years for indecently assaulting a child between the years of 1974 and 1977 inclusive. The victim suffered lifelong impacts from the years of incidents that continues to effect his quality of life.

Indigenous Law Centre – CaseWatch Blog

R.O. was found guilty at trial for indecently assaulting M.L. from 1974 to 1977 inclusive, contrary to Section 156 of the Criminal Code. M.L. was almost 7 years of age at the start of the timeframe and nearly 11 years old at the end of it. The offender was in his early 20s and had been placed or adopted into M.L.’s wider family as an infant.

When he was 7, M.L. was looked after by his grandmother at her home and the offender would often be there for M.L.’s dinner and bath time. His grandmother ran the routine like clockwork, and the offender would often come in to the bathroom and sexually assault him in various disturbing acts. M.L. felt he had no choice but to go to his grandmother’s, and felt forced to cooperate. The acts were frequent, two to three times a week, and escalated in becoming more aggressive and intrusive over time. Eventually, M.L. discovered extracurricular activities which kept him away from his offender when he was near the age of 11. However, the impact of the abuse inflicted by the accused on M.L. has been profound and has lasted many years. He has trust issues and difficulties with personal relationships. As well, he has issues with substance abuse and suffers poor mental health.

The offender has a record of sexual offences involving young boys, with criminal convictions recorded against him in 1981, 1992, and 2014. The offender started professional counselling, but R.O.’s Community Corrections file indicates on past supervision that he maintained denial on all convictions, minimized his sexual offending and was highly resistant to attending or participating in any interventions targeted at his sexual offending. He continues to believe any interventions aimed at his sexual offending are not beneficial to him.

R.O., who is now 67 years of age, has significant Gladue factors. The report outlines that he is a member of a First Nation, near Lillooet, British Columbia. R.O. was reportedly apprehended by Ministry social workers at the age of two weeks when he was found at home without adequate supervision. The offender said he didn’t remember much of his childhood but had a clear recollection of being sexually assaulted by two teenaged boys at two different times when he was ten years of age. R.O has had limited education and some employment. He suffers from various mental illnesses and disorders.

Although there are significant Gladue factors of the offender, the significant factors and the gravity of the offence, including the profound wrongfulness and harmfulness of sexual offences against children must also be taken into account. There was a life-long impact on this victim who was a child in primary school at the commencement of a period of prolonged offending by the offender. R.O. is sentenced to 4 years, with other ancillary orders.

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