The family of a five-year-old girl who was raped by her mother’s boyfriend in videos he shared online say they’ve lived with intense pain and sadness as a result of the attacks, according to victim impact statements read in court this week.
The man pleaded guilty to four charges, including touching a child for a sexual purpose, as well as making, distributing and possessing child pornography. He cannot be named due to a publication ban on any information that could identify his victim.
The abuse started when the man moved in with the girl’s mother in January 2017, and continued until his arrest on Aug. 25, 2017. The girl was five years old when the abuse started and turned six before the man was arrested.
While the mother was out of the house taking employment training, the 28-year-old man put sleeping pills in the girl’s milk and then assaulted her, a judge was told in February.
During a sentencing hearing this week, the Crown asked for 18 years in prison. The man’s defence lawyers Dan Manning and Amanda Heslop argued for 10 years.
Lifetime of emotional pain
But in her victim impact statement, the child’s mother said the man’s actions have sentenced her daughter to a lifetime of torture, and that her pain and sadness won’t end even when he is released from prison.
“They won’t end at all,” she wrote.
The man told her daughter that if she told anyone what he did, her mother would stop loving her and he would push her into a fire, she wrote. Because of the trauma she endured, she has had a difficult time at school.
“This little girl who was once a social butterfly was now too terrified to have relationships with her peers because of the emotional torture she had and has to continue to endure,” she wrote.
The mother said she still has nightmares every night.
The victim’s grandparents and aunt also submitted victim impact statements.
“My worst fear had come true,” one grandmother wrote.
“Someone who represented himself as a caring, trustworthy person, infiltrated our family and gained the trust of our daughter and then harmed the most vulnerable of us. A tiny, innocent five-year=old child.”
‘Rays of light’ amid struggle
Despite the pain they have endured, “rays of light have shone through,” the grandmother wrote.
“My family is rebuilding what’s been shattered by the heinous acts by one, and my hope is that over time, my daughter and grandchildren will learn that the evil actions of one cannot negate and overpower the beauty, joy and lights that life can offer.”
Much of the evidence against the man was given to investigators by another man in Australia who belonged to the same group, which was based in the Kik messaging app. Police in Australia arrested the man and he gave investigators a username that belonged to the Winnipeg man, Crown prosecutor Sheila Doe told court in February.
Out of all the members of the group, the Winnipeg man was sharing the “most severe material,” the Australian told investigators.
The man worked at a Winnipeg daycare for a number of years before the abuse took place.
Man should have to pay restitution, Crown says
During sentencing submissions, Doe argued that the man should have to pay restitution to the victim in addition to an 18-year sentence because the child will likely need therapy for a long time, which can be expensive.
“The goal is to make her a survivor,” Doe said. “We don’t need an economist to say that this will be expensive over the years.”
Though the man will likely be behind bars for a long time, he will be employed at some point and will be able to pay restitution, Doe argued.
“He should have his cheques garnished for the rest of his life,” she said.
Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Joan McKelvey is expected to deliver her decision on July 31.