A man faces charges after two girls said they were sexually assaulted at different times over a three-year period in an isolated Beaufort Delta community.
The 30-year-old was recently released on bail. He is under strict conditions, which include a curfew.
The alleged assaults took place between January 1, 2019 and March 31 this year. The man is charged with sexually assaulting and interfering with both girls.
Publication bans on bail hearings are sweeping, so no details of the Crown’s case against the man can be published.
The man cannot be named to avoid any connection being made between the accused and the alleged victims.
Rates of reported sexual offences against children and youth in the NWT have been the highest in Canada.
NWT Bureau of Statistics data shows a steady increase in reported sexual violations against children, rising to 64 in 2019. In 2020, the first year of the global pandemic, the number of such crimes dropped to 51 – part of a downward trend observed across all Criminal Code violations.
In sentencing a man to prison last year in an unrelated case that involved the sexual assault of two pre-teen girls, NWT Territorial Court Judge Christine Gagnon noted courts will start issuing stronger penalties to protect children.
The Supreme Court of Canada issued direction to all judges to “depart from previous precedents,” she said, and to increase the penalties for crimes of sexual violence committed against children.
Gagnon said that move reflected amendments made to the Criminal Code by Parliament to better protect children from all forms of abuse.