A sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl in Cluculz Lake more than two years ago has led to a six-month jail term for 37-year-old man.
Troy Robert Chadwell was also sentenced to two years probation Wednesday at the Prince George courthouse after he pleaded guilty midway through a provincial court trial to sexually interfering with a person under 16 years old on May 1, 2009.
Chadwell, who usually worked on a ranch with his parents about 200 kilometres south of Vanderhoof, was living with the girl and her parents in Cluculz Lake at the time while working in the area.
The girl had developed a crush on Chadwell, who was 34 years old at the time, and the relationship progressed to where she was essentially the pursuer. But Chadwell did not necessarily rebuff her and on the day in question they were alone in a cabin on the property.
Chadwell performed oral sex on the girl and then left the cabin to get a condom just as the girl's father arrived on the property, the court heard.
When Chadwell saw the father outside, he ran to his truck. The father thought Chadwell's actions suspicious and went to the cabin where he found the girl on the bed in a state of undress.
The girl has since had difficulty dealing with the incident and has often blamed herself, the court heard. But in giving submissions on Chadwell's behalf, defence lawyer Michael Reed said his client does not blame the girl, only himself.
"My client, on reflection of what happened, knows that he should not have participated in these acts," Reed said. "He should have removed himself from this situation, that's what he should have done."
Chadwell was described as a father of four children from three relationships and someone with a Grade 3 education who has difficulty reading and writing. He has a criminal record that includes two counts of assault, committed in Cluculz Lake in 2006, for which he was sentenced to five days in jail and two years probation.
In reaching the verdict, judge Ron Tindale agreed with a joint submission from the prosecuting and defence lawyers although he also noted that the minimum sentence for such an offence is now one year in jail under federal legislation passed in February, compared to 45 days previously. The maximum term remains at 10 years.
Tindale also noted Chadwell was less than cooperative with interviewers for a pre-sentence report but agreed with the prosecution and defence it is unlikely he is a pedophile.
Chadwell's conditions while on probation include no contact with the victim. The condition also prohibits contact with any female 16 years old and under without advanced written consent of the probation officer, with the exception of his two young daughters. In that case, he must have the mother's permission.
The girl cannot be identified under a court-ordered publication ban.