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Ex-boyfriend used nude photos as leverage for sexual favours

Vernon Courthouse
January 21, 2013 - 2:58 PM

UPDATE:  4:44 p.m.

A judge has found a young man guilty of unlawfully confining a 16-year-old girl and assaulting her. He was also charged with sexual assault, a charge the judge was reluctant to acquit him of.

The young man and woman, who cannot be named by court order to protect her identity, were the only witnesses in the trial. Two weeks after they broke up in June of 2012, the man texted his ex to tell her he had numerous nude photos of her that he would post online unless she performed sexual favours for him. The girl did what she thought she must to get him to delete the pictures, but he didn't uphold his end of the bargain. After receiving oral sex from the girl, he still demanded more in return for ensuring her privacy. The girl said she "didn't think he would ever stop," and contacted the police.

Crown lawyer Cristina Cabulea said the accused's evidence did not raise reasonable doubt over his charges.

"He agreed he was the one in charge all the time," Cabulea said in her submission. "He knew he had the power."

She said the accused's explanation of why the girl punched him—because he wouldn't get her a glass of water—was unbelievable. She maintained the girl had been trying to escape the man, who was restraining her in his bed.

The accused's lawyer, Julian Vanderwalle, insisted parts of the girl's story didn't add up. He questioned why she would return to his house—to his bed—after telling him she never wanted to see him again, after performing a "tearful" sexual favour, and ultimately, after being blackmailed by him. He said the girl's version was "somewhat of an incredible story."

After lengthy contemplation, Judge Mark Takahashi announced he found the boy guilty of counts one and two: unlawful confinement or imprisonment for forcing her to stay in his bed by holding her down, and assault for putting his hand over the girl's mouth to keep her from yelling for help. The girl testified he covered her mouth and nose, and that she couldn't breathe.

The sexual assault charge was not aimed at the sexual favours, but at the "cuddling" initiated by the man. The girl said she did not want him to touch her, and that he grabbed her around the hips without her consent. Takahashi said that if the sexual assault was referring to the oral sex, the man could be looking at jail time. As it was, the charge was for "cuddling" which Takahashi resolved didn't amount to sexual assault.

"It is with great reluctance I acquit (the accused) of count three," Takahashi said.

—Charlotte Helston
chelston@infotelnews.ca
(250)309-5230

 

A young Vernon man admits that he threatened to post nude photos of his 16-year-old ex-girlfriend on Facebook if she performed sexual favours on him, but contests charges of unlawful confinement, assault and sexual assault.

It would be hard to deny the threats—much of that evidence at his trial is in text messages he sent in summer, 2012. He was 19 at the time, however to avoid identifying the alleged victim, he cannot be named. The charges stem not from his threats but from two nights they spent together. The trial in Vernon Provincial Court will largely be determined based on the text messages and the evidence of the accused and the complainant, the only two witnesses expected to be called.

According to text messages shown in court, the man texted the girl a naked photo of her, saying, "there is more." He threatened to post the photos to Facebook for the girl's friends and family to see, unless she agreed to sex upon his request.

"I just wanted them gone," the girl testified. "It made me feel fearful."

She said she would do anything for him to delete them, offering to pay him to do so. But money wasn't what he wanted. The two agreed to meet up to discuss the matter, and the boy picked her up that day.

"I asked if sex was what he wanted for (the photos) to be gone, and he nodded his head," the girl told the court.

They went over to his house to make the transaction: Sex in return for the photos.

"At that time, I trusted he was going to delete them," the girl said.

She reluctantly agreed to oral sex. After the deed was done, she got dressed and the boy drove her to work. Later, he called to tell her he still had the pictures, and if she told anyone, he would post them to social media.

She returned to the boy's house a second time. This time, she said she wanted to see the photos deleted from his laptop. She said she looked through all his folders, including the recycling bin, finding nothing. It was late, the girl said she was tired, so they went to bed. But not without conditions. She said she told her ex to stay on his side of the bed and not touch her but say he didn't listen. He pulled her close and wrapped his arms around her, telling her she promised to spend the night with him, she said.

She said she made several attempts to get off the bed, but he kept pulling her back. At one point, she tried to yell for the boy's mother to come help her, but he clamped his hand over her mouth, she said.

"He said I was making a big deal out of nothing," she said, adding he covered her nose too, and that she couldn't breathe. Pinned to the bed, the only thing she could do was bite him. He returned the nip, she said, and left a mark on her arm, a photo of which was shown in court.

Eventually, the girl got away and headed upstairs where she ran into the boy's mother, who said she'd drive her home. She told his mother everything about photos, the threats and the physical abuse. She said the mother told her son he couldn't treat women that way, but he denied the accusations.

Later that night, she got another text. He wanted more.

"Just you, me, music in the van, and it will all stop," read his text. He said this would be the last time.

But she had had enough. "I'm going to the cops tomorrow," she replied. In his next text, he told her he didn't care if he got arrested. In court, he said he was bluffing.

While he admitted to blackmailing his ex-girlfriend during cross examination, he described a different version of events. He said the whole thing started two weeks after they'd broken up, and that she was angry he hadn't been spending enough time with her. He said she came over voluntarily, and that giving him oral sex was her idea.

He said she incited a fight, and that she "always brought up stuff from the past." Later, he said she apologized for being angry. According to him, they fell asleep cuddling. A while later, he was awakened by three punches to his chest. He said she asked him to bring her a glass of water and when he said no, she began punching and kicking at him. He said he wrapped his arms around her to stop her, and that she fell off the bed a few times.

He said he came along while his mom drove the girl home, and that he fell asleep in the car.

Though there are inconsistencies between the two versions about the details of what happened, the text messages make it clear the boy was blackmailing the girl for sex—a fact he didn't deny in court. He said his intention was not to continue forever, and that just one more time together would put an end to the situation.

"I don't believe you'll ever stop," the girl texted the day before she reported the incident to police.

—Charlotte Helston
chelston@infotelnews.ca
(250) 309-5230

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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