A Grand Forks man will serve a conditional sentence for inappropriately touching a child, a provincial court heard Wednesday, June 30.
The man, who cannot be named because of a court-ordered publication ban, pleaded guilty in January to sexual interference with a child under 16. It emerged Wednesday morning that the child had been the man’s adopted son at the time of the abuse.
The boy reported around 10 instances when the man, now in his 60s, touched him inappropriately between the ages of 11 and 15, often during private massages in their family home.
The man attributed his crime to sexual urges that set in around the time the boy entered puberty. As part of a joint submission by Crown and defence counsels, the court heard that the man had since attended a Christian Church in the United States where he said he was “healed” of his “sexual desire for men.”
Defence lawyer Nelson Selamaj stated, “(the church) is reportedly known in the Christian community to have these positive effects for people who suffer from homosexuality.” The Crown meanwhile noted that the court was not at all concerned with the man’s sexual orientation.
In their joint submission to Judge Robert Brown, both sides recommended that the man serve a two-year jail sentence in the community, to be followed by another two years’ probation.
In accepting their submission, Brown noted that the man had no prior convictions and that he presented a low risk of re-offending, according to a forensic psychiatric report.
Brown sentenced the man to a two-year conditional sentence, the first eight months of which he will spend under 24-hr house arrest, except to work and attend church in Grand Forks. He will have an overnight curfew for the next eight months after that. The judge ordered the man to stay away from the victim and his family for two years.
In that time, he must not have any contact with anyone under 16, except for incidental contact at work and at church, provided that he is not left alone with or placed in a position of authority over children. He is also not allowed to possess or access pornography.
He will then serve two years’ probation under the same conditions apart from his house arrest and his order not to be around children under-16. He will also have to provide DNA samples to Grand Forks RCMP and go on the federal sex offender registry for 10 years.