After almost five years of sexually abusing his grandchildren, a Red Deer man has been sent to jail for eight years.
The victims were his stepson’s son and daughter, as well as one of the boy’s friends.
A court-ordered publication ban protecting the identities of the victims prevent the man from being named.
The man pleaded guilty to the charges on Nov. 19 and was sentenced by Judge Jim Hunter in Red Deer provincial court on Thursday. During the proceedings, the man trembled and shook as he sat beside his attorney, Red Deer lawyer Walter Kubanek.
Crown prosecutor Jason Snider asked for a six- to eight-year sentence, leaning on the longer side of the range. Kubanek suggested a jail term of less than four years.
Over a five-year period, the man regularly sexually abused the grandchildren.
Some of the instances took place in the Collicutt Centre’s family change room, where he abused both male and female victims.
Although he pleaded guilty to the charges when he was asked to explain them in more detail during his Forensic Assessment Outpatient Service examination and the creation of his pre-sentence report, he claimed memory loss and could not recall the incidents.
The reports suggested he was maligning or feigning mental illness and the claims of memory loss were a coping mechanism.
Although he said he had no recollection of the events that the children were accusing him of, he said the children would not lie and he wouldn’t put them through a trial.
There were several instances of sexual abuse over five years and multiple victims.
The judge noted that two more victims did not want to come forward because they feared either breaking up the family or were too young and scared.
The man and his wife of over 20 years — now separated as a result of the charges — were the primary caregivers of the grandchildren. The abuse of the male children was almost daily, while the abuse of the female children was not as common but did take place.
As well as the Collicutt Centre change room, abuse took place in the family home in Red Deer and another home elsewhere in Alberta.
At one point during the court proceedings, a person in the gallery burst into tears, saying they couldn’t stand to watch it anymore.
One victim read an impact statement. The victim spoke about loss of trust; feeling angry, alone, sad, depressed and scared; and having nightmares as a result of the abuse.
The victim, because of this case, lost contact with some family by coming forward.
Another victim impact statement was written by the mother of a victim, but not read in court.
Hunter said the man’s position of trust and the nature of the sexual offences were aggravating factors in his decision.
Pre-sentence reports also indicated that the man was a moderate to high risk to re-offend, relative to other sexual offenders.
The judge sentenced the man to eight years in jail and ordered he be put on the national sex offender information registry and provide a DNA sample.
He will also be prohibited for the rest of his life from attending a public place where children are, or could be reasonably be expected to be. He can’t work with children or use a computer with the purpose of contacting a child. He also can’t possess a firearm or other weapons.
The man apologized for “the pain and embarrassment I have caused everybody.”