Warning: This report contains courtroom descriptions of a sexual assault that readers may find disturbing.
A convicted sex offender – considered so dangerous that his release warranted a rare police warning – proved RCMP’s concerns to be chillingly accurate as he went on to rape a woman in Yellowknife.
Travis Menacho was a three-time convicted child molester when he was released on probation in August 2016.
Concerned over the release of the pedophile, RCMP issued an unusual public statement warning all people – particularly those in Tulita, where Menacho lived – that he posed “a risk of significant harm to the public.”
Menacho was to be on probation for three years with conditions that included no contact with children under the age of 16.
Yet in May 2018, he carried out a “major sexual assault” on an adult woman while he was under those strict probation conditions.
On Friday, the 29-year-old was sentenced to three years and eight months in prison for the offence.
“Mr Menacho took advantage of a vulnerable, sleeping woman,” Crown prosecutor Jeannie Scott told territorial court.
“It’s clear this offence has had a lasting impact on this victim. She talks about feeling angry and anxious.
“He did participate in sex offender treatment programs on his last period of incarceration, but it was identified there was more work to be done.”
In an agreed statement of facts, court heard that on May 23, an adult female – her age wasn’t provided in court – and her cousin were drinking with Menacho in his room in the uptown Days Inn and Suites. They had met for the first time earlier that night at a drinking party at the Dorset Apartments in downtown Yellowknife.
The three continued to drink until the woman and her cousin “passed out,” said Scott.
“The woman was fully clothed when she passed out … (she) awoke with the accused on top of her, having sexual intercourse with her,” said the prosecutor.
“Her shorts and underwear were off, being on the floor. The victim tried to fight the accused off and was reaching for her cousin who was passed out, but the accused kept grabbing her hands.”
She was crying, pleading with Menacho to stop, but instead, he put a pillow over her face.
She managed to push the pillow away and “kneed the accused in the groin, causing him to fall to the floor,” said Scott.
The victim then managed to shake her cousin awake, the pair leaving the hotel to walk downtown to the RCMP station, arriving just after 1am.
Police took the woman to hospital, where DNA samples were taken and clothing seized as evidence.
At 1:50am, Menacho was arrested at the Days Inn and Suites. A search warrant was later executed in his room, where a used condom was found in a trash can.
Later tests discovered Menacho’s DNA on a vaginal swab taken from the victim at hospital the night of the attack. His DNA was also found on her clothing.
The victim’s DNA was found on the accused’s underwear and on the condom.
Defence lawyer Tracy Bock said Menacho needs specialized treatment for his “many demons.”
After growing up in a house where alcohol was present and fighting was commonplace – and spending time in a foster home – it’s also possible he was sexually abused himself during his childhood, said Bock.
Both of his parents and their extended family attended residential school.
Menacho has also been diagnosed with cognitive limitations — possibly fetal alcohol spectrum disorder – and he was bullied in school as a result.
“There is a strong cycle of abuse and trauma here,” said Bock, noting Menacho is an alcoholic who “loses control” when he drinks.
Addressing court, Menacho apologized and said he wished “he could turn back the clock” to undo the damage done the night of May 23, 2018.
“I just want to say ‘I’m sorry’ to her,” said Menacho, who pleaded guilty to the crime. “If she does not want to forgive me, I can’t force her. I hope when the time comes, she will forgive me.”
His previous convictions were:
- In 2010, sexual assault, for touching a five-year-old girl;
- in 2013, failure to comply with a court order;
- in 2013, sexual interference, for touching an eight-year-old boy;
- and in 2016, sexual assault, for touching an eight-year-old girl.
In addition to the prison term – a joint recommendation from the Crown and defence, with two lesser charges withdrawn – Judge Garth Malakoe ordered Menacho be placed on the national sex offender registry for life and be subject to a 10-year firearms ban.
“If you get out and you decide to drink, you will be back before this court,” said Malakoe, noting Menacho’s parents have now been sober for many years. “I hope you take my words to heart.”
Menacho has 444 days of pre-trial credit, meaning he has roughly two years and two months remaining in his sentence.