After admitting he molested his stepdaughter in 2014, a man fled Yellowknife prior to sentencing and managed to evade authorities for seven years.
That ended in May this year when RCMP in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, located the 41-year-old man and took him into custody.
“There are aspects to this case that are somewhat mystifying,” said Crown prosecutor Travis Weagant in NWT Territorial Court last week, noting the man pleaded guilty the month after he was arrested in 2014 but then fled his home and family.
“What has gone on in the past seven years is certainly a mystery,” said the prosecutor.
In the early morning of March 8, 2014 in Yellowknife, the intoxicated man entered the room of his sleeping 12-year-old stepdaughter and sexually assaulted her.
There is a publication ban on any information that could identify the victim.
On May 13, 2014, the man was charged with sexual assault and sexual interference. In a plea agreement, he pleaded guilty to sexual interference on June 24, 2014. The judge at the time ordered the man to return for sentencing on August 13, 2014.
However, Weagant said, the man did not appear on that date and a warrant for his arrest was issued.
“On multiple occasions [through the years] RCMP in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut attempted to locate [the man] to execute the warrant,” said Weagant.
Police combed through databases such as for motor vehicle registrations in several territories and provinces. Family members of the man were contacted and his photograph was distributed to RCMP detachments in places he might be living.
“These efforts bore no fruit until May 18, 2021, when RCMP in Rankin Inlet arrested [the man] without incident,” said Weagant. No further details surrounding the man’s capture were available.
The Crown and defence lawyer Roopa Mulherkar presented Judge Robert Gorin with a joint recommendation on a sentence for the man. The victim did not submit a victim impact statement.
Mulherkar told the court her client had suffered from problems related to alcohol, but now has that under control.The heavy equipment operator was working the entire time he was eluding police.
Asked if he had anything to say, the man spoke via a video link from North Slave Correctional Complex. “I’ve learned a lot and have been keeping myself away from anything bad,” he said.
Judge Gorin said the man committed “a serious breach of trust” when he assaulted his stepdaughter.
“She was sexually assaulted while she was sleeping. She was vulnerable, she was in her own home, where she should have been able to feel that she was safe,” he said. “The accused should have been there to protect her, not violate her. But I find what counsel are proposing is reasonable.”
Gorin sentenced the man to 90 days for sexual interference and 45 days for failure to attend court, to be served concurrently. That will be followed by a period of supervised probation for one year, when he is to take counselling as directed.
He is also not to contact or communicate with the victim in any way.
The man had accumulated a total of 78 days of remand credit, meaning he had 12 more days left to serve.
He will have to provide a DNA sample to the national databank and be on the sex offenders’ registry for 10 years.