Judge sentences elderly man in sex-abuse case

An 86-year-old B.C. man who repeatedly sexually abused his two daughters nearly 50 years ago has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The man, who is identified only by initials in a court ruling, was convicted in November 2018 of two counts of sexual intercourse without a person's consent and two counts of indecent assault, with the offences occurring at "various locations" around B.C.

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The offences against the girls, who were groomed for the sexual abuse when they were younger than 10 years of age and suffered the abuse after turning 10, happened as early as March 1966 and continued until December 1979. The girls are also only identified by initials due to the publication ban.

Three of the offences involved more than 100 incidents each of sexual abuse committed by the dad, who is now 86 years of age.

"If one sentence could sum up what you have done, it is this," B.C. Supreme Court Justice Arne Silverman told the dad. "You denied your daughters their childhood."

At the sentencing hearing in Prince George, the judge noted that while a lengthy jail sentence was warranted, the difficult aspect of the process was the extent to which the length of the sentence should be reduced due to the dad's age and the fact he possibly suffers from dementia. The judge concluded that despite the evidence that the dad was possibly or probably suffering from dementia, the accused's lawyer was able to take instructions from him and there was no fitness issue either at the trial or sentencing stages of the proceedings.

The aggravating factors included that the dad was in a position of trust and authority when he abused his daughters, the sexual abuse started by grooming and was unrelenting and continuous, and there were hundreds of incidents.

The judge added that the abuse was highly invasive and painful and there were threats of violence, with the dad telling his children that he would kill them if they disclosed the abuse to anyone.

The dad also used his "fearful" and "innocent" younger son to perpetrate the abuse against one of the sisters and exploited and degraded one of the daughters and his son by using an intoxicating substance to facilitate sex between them and by allowing other adult males to watch and masturbate in the presence of and film the children.

The only mitigating factor in the case was that the dad had no prior criminal record.

The dad's lawyer argued that his client had led an exemplary life after the children left home, but the judge said that submission didn't move him at all.

"You should have been prosecuted decades ago and you were not prosecuted decades ago because of the psychological harm and the threats that these young girls had lived under," said Silverman. "So I see nothing benefiting you in the so-called exemplary life that you have lived since."

The judge also noted that prison officials had assured him that an elderly man with health issues can be accommodated while being incarcerated. The sentence was handed down orally in court Aug. 23 and posted on the court's website Tuesday.

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