NWT must provide 'comfort and safety' from sex offenders – judge
A judge continued this week to call for more appropriate ways of handling repeat sexual offenders in the communities of the Northwest Territories.
Territorial Court Judge Donovan Molloy had earlier summoned NWT Department of Justice officials to explain what treatment options exist for a man convicted of sexually assaulting women and girls in Tuktoyaktuk.
On Friday, Molloy received affidavits from officials which stated Gilbert Katigakyok’s assessment – he has been diagnosed with a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder [FASD] – will be completed in six weeks. Decisions on programming will be conveyed to the court in two months.
Neither the Crown nor defence required the officials to be cross-examined, so they didn’t have to take the stand.
“It’s simply the court’s desire to see this matter resolved in a way [that] provides comfort and safety to the people in Tuktoyaktuk and that will also reduce the likelihood of him re-offending and potentially becoming a long-term offender,” said Molloy.
“To some extent, this is a social problem … and I don’t think the answer is to put people in jail. It only disappears the individual, it doesn’t address the social problem and the issues [behind it].
“The fact that they don’t really appear to have been addressed properly up until now doesn’t mean we can’t try to ensure that they are addressed appropriately on this occasion – and that’s the goal.
“He has three times now gone to houses in the middle of the night and sexually assaulted female occupants … women and children who were sleeping.”
Intellectual age of a child
On August 1, a sentencing hearing ground to a halt when Molloy refused to send Katigakyok – convicted of multiple sex assaults – back to Tuktoyaktuk simply on supervised probation.
Instead, Molloy issued a subpoena for a corrections official to appear in front of him with treatment options, including possible residential treatment down south or assisted living.
Katigakyok, 25, was to be sentenced to time served for breaking into a house in the hamlet on March 17, where he fondled two sleeping girls aged 11 and 12. He only stopped when one of them threatened to get her father.
Court heard Katigakyok has the intellectual age of a child aged six or seven.
He has twice before been convicted of entering a house in the hamlet in the early morning hours and sexually assaulting sleeping female occupants.
“He is not leaving here to go [back] on the terms suggested … if there is a treatment program identified, I could be far more likely to accept this submission,” said Molloy at the time, referring to a joint sentencing recommendation from the Crown and defence.
Defence lawyer Peter Harte told the court it’s difficult to find solutions in the NWT for people living with FASD. Harte and Crown prosecutor Martine Sirois had recommended Katigakyok be sentenced to what would amount to his time served in pre-trial custody, then be on probation with strict conditions for three years.
On Friday, the court heard those conditions would include an overnight curfew, pre-authorized consent forms for the assessment, and to take any counselling or risk-reduction treatment offered to him.
Molloy said he will issue a written decision on August 21 regarding Katigakyok’s sentence and the exact probation conditions.
Harte said corrections officials “are to be commended” for taking the steps required to expedite his client’s assessment.
The court previously heard Katigakyok’s mother attended residential school and that she consumed alcohol during pregnancy. Katigakyok was apprehended by social workers at the age of two and grew up in a relatively stable home.