October 15, 2013 - 5:20 PM
'HE ALONE IS RESPONSIBLE'
KAMLOOPS - A man who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl in her home over the course of two months will spend 14 months in prison, a judge ruled today.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Sheri Donegan called Nelson Thomas a risk to public safety today during her sentencing decision.
"He knew he was committing a crime," Donegan said.
The Crown sought 18 to 24 months incarceration along with probation for the events more than five years ago.
Thomas, who pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault, was in his early 30s when he and his wife were staying with the victim's family at their home in Merritt.
The Crown's case, accepted by the defence, described how Thomas visited the girl in her bedroom one night, got in a tickle fight with her and touched her vagina against her will. Within a month, nightly encounters from Aug. 1 to Sept. 30, 2007 escalated from touching to sexual intercourse before he and his wife moved out. The allegations came to light three years later and Thomas was cooperative with police and pleaded guilty.
Donegan said despite Nelson's early guilty plea, she noted that he blamed others for what happened.
She said he blamed his wife because he felt lonely while she studied for college and he blamed the girl for 'flirting' with him.
Defence lawyer Don Campbell asked Donegan to impose a conditional sentence order, allowing him to serve a sentence within the community.
Donegan considered factors including Thomas' complicated family history, that he is a first-time offender and his guilty plea. However, she denied the order.
"This offence is a serious one," Donegan said. "He alone is responsible."
Instead, Thomas was ordered to 14 months in jail with two years probation and will be entered into the National Sex Offender Registry.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013