OTTAWA — Society failed the young Ottawa boy who endured being chained up, tortured and sexually abused at the hands of his father, a disgraced former RCMP officer, the victim’s maternal aunt told a sentencing hearing Wednesday.
The man, who cannot be identified under a court order aimed at protecting the identity of his son, sat silently in the courtroom with his head bowed throughout much of the hearing’s first full day.
But it was the welfare of the boy — and the enduring scars he carries as a result of the ordeal — that were the focus of attention during testimony.
“The internal, invisible damage will be with him forever,” the woman said of her nephew as she read from a victim impact statement that assailed the justice system and medical professionals for allowing the abuse to persist,
“Individuals and institutions put in place to help him failed.”
Later, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Helen Ward told the Ottawa courtroom that the ex-Mountie was suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, but chose not to seek treatment because he thought he knew what was right.
In November, the man was found guilty of aggravated assault, sexual assault causing bodily harm, forcible confinement and failing to provide the necessaries of life.
He was initially arrested in 2013 after the boy was found wandering in a neighbour’s back yard in search of water.
Court heard the boy nearly starved to death during his captivity, which left him chained and shackled, often naked, in an unfinished basement.
Ward, who was testifying as a defence witness, said the former officer exhibited “chronic and severe PTSD” while he was undergoing a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation, although she said the symptoms “fluctuated over time.”
He was “re-experiencing” behaviours he was subjected to as a child, including flashbacks, expressed hopelessness and at times denied his own actions, Ward testified.