A teen said it “just feels so good” to see the former MLA who sexually touched her punished for his crimes.
Former Innisfail-Sylvan Lake MLA Don MacIntyre was sentenced to three years in prison on Friday after pleading guilty to sexual interference.
“I’m feeling very happy,” said the young woman outside court. “I’ve been waiting for almost half my life for today.”
The victim, who was a child at the time of the crime, said would have liked to have seen him get more than three years in prison. “That’s just because of how long I felt being sad.”
Seeing her abuser in a position of power helped motivate her to go public with her story. A publication ban covers any information that may identify her.
“He’s always been in a position of power and it’s so good to see that taken away from him,” she said.
“He’s been public for so long that I feel it is important for what I have to say to be public as well.”
For others who have been abused, her message is that it will get better and there is hope.
“Telling people about it will definitely speed the process of it getting better. And seeing your abuser go to jail will make it feel even better.”
The victim is now looking at getting on with her life and knows she will feel happier, safer and more confident.
“I can’t wait to just go to university and be normal.”
Crown prosecutor Julie Snowdon earlier said MacIntyre’s crimes amounted to a major sexual crime and had asked for a sentence of three to 3 1/2 years. A charge of sexual assault was dropped.
MacIntyre, who is 63, resigned in February of last year after he was charged. Sexual interference involves touching someone under the age of 16 for a sexual purpose.
Reading from an agreed statement of facts, Snowdon said years after the touching took place, the victim told an adult what had happened. The adult confronted MacIntyre, who confessed, saying the sexual abuse was part of “Satan’s plan.”
MacIntyre also told the child God would be OK with the touching.
The victim realized that what had happened to her was not right, but blamed herself. The guilt felt like pressure on her chest and she couldn’t sleep.
“It got to the point where it just hurt so much.”
The court heard the teen thought of suicide or stabbing herself.
Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Debra Yungwirth told MacIntyre “your degree of responsibility is very high,” as she sentenced him to prison and ordered that his name be put on a sexual offender registry for 20 years.
He must also have no contact with his victim while he is serving his sentence.
The girl was under the age of 14 when she was sexually touched by MacIntyre on five to 10 occasions between 2010 and 2011.
Yungwirth said the abuse was premeditated and for MacIntyre’s own sexual gratification and left a victim psychologically and emotionally harmed.
MacIntyre apologized in court for the “pain and anguish” he had caused and expressed hope his victim would get the help she needs.
Defence lawyer Ian McKay had asked for a sentence of two years, saying MacIntyre pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and was remorseful.
He was a decent man “except for this one dark period that he will never forgive himself for.”
MacIntyre has lost “pretty much everything” because of his crime and the resulting media attention, he said.
“This is a man in so many ways (who) has been punished already and will continue to be punished for the rest of his life.”
MacIntyre was first elected in 2015 for the Wildrose Party, which merged with the Progressive Conservatives in 2017.
He was the party’s critic for electricity and renewables.
The party put out a statement on Friday condemning MacIntyre.
“We hope this disgusting individual faces the full extent of the law in sentencing for his odious crime. Our thoughts remain with the victim and all those affected at this time.”