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Sentencing hearing begins for ex-teacher guilty of rape

A former Red Deer teacher and vice-principal who pleaded guilty to raping one of his students in the 1970s has yet to be sentenced.

Warren Dexter Fertig, 73, pleaded guilty in November to one count of rape in connection with sexual activities involving a student when she was 12 to 15 years old and he was 35 to 37.

His sentencing hearing began on Friday in Red Deer provincial court but did not conclude. A new date was to be set for continuation of the hearing. Judge Norman Mackie required more sentencing information.

On Friday, the victim, who read her victim impact statement aloud in court, said she felt trapped and powerless to stop what Fertig did to her.

“He raped me for three long years,” she told the court.

“Mr. Fertig’s actions brought my childhood to a sudden and tragic end.”

She said he struck up a friendship with her on her first day of junior high at River Glen School.

Rapes occurred between May 1, 1975, and Sept. 30, 1977, when Fertig drove her home from sports activities and parked in farmer’s field or back alleys. It also occurred when she babysat for his family.

She didn’t escape the abuse until she graduated from River Glen.

She said she felt deep shame, profound sadness and feelings of unworthiness, and decided to come forward to police only after her mother died.

She said she could not shake off the fear and trauma she experienced. It made her anxious, distrustful of people and extremely overprotective of her own children.

“I’ve had to accept this deep wound will always be a part of me.”

Crown prosecutor Jason Snider was seeking a two-to-four-year prison sentence.

He said in a psychological report that Fertig did not appear to understand the gravity of the impact on his victim and didn’t view her as having been a child.

When asked if he wanted to say anything to the court, Fertig said he could not adequately express his remorse for his crime and regretted the impact it had on his victim.

“I chose to enter a guilty plea so all the people I hurt will not be put through any more suffering than they already have,” said Fertig, who left teaching in 1977.

Defence lawyer Alain Hepner argued for a conditional sentence of two years less a day to be served in the community under strict conditions. He said his client’s risk to re-offend was low, he had no criminal record and pleaded guilty, which prevented the need for a trial.

If the judge did not agree with a conditional sentence, Hepner asked that a nine-month jail sentence be considered.

szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

 
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