Kamloops judge wanted harsher sentence for man who groped teen at bus stop | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops judge wanted harsher sentence for man who groped teen at bus stop

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October 31, 2016 - 8:30 PM


KAMLOOPS - A Kamloops man will spend four months in jail after pleading guilty to groping a teenaged girl at a Kamloops bus stop, but a provincial court judge says that's not enough.

A 17-year-old girl was waiting alone for her bus at the Tranquille bus exchange two weeks ago, when an older man approached her.

Crown prosecutor Frank Caputo told Kamloops Provincial court today, Oct. 31, that Roland Macdonald Paul, 37, began making suggestive comments to the girl, telling her how good she looked and asking her personal questions about where she lived and how old she was.

She told him she was 17-years-old, but he persisted with inappropriate comments, Caputo said.

At the bus stop on Oct. 18, Paul asked the teenager whether she carried pepper spray and then asked her to shake his hand. She shook it, but he held on, rubbing her palm with his hand. He then began rubbing her inner thigh, court heard.

“She froze and didn’t know what to do,” Caputo said.

Paul began caressing her hair, pushing it back and forth. He eventually began fondling her breasts. The victim noticed Paul had an odour of alcohol on his breath.

Court heard the victim eventually spotted a friend at the exchange and ran over to them. She began crying and wanted to call the police.

Paul approached her and began stroking her hair again. The victim took a picture of Paul to show to police.

The victim, who cannot be identified due to a court-ordered publication ban, read a victim impact statement to the court, saying this event has affected her school and social life.

"It’s been hard for me to concentrate and not think about it," she said. “I’m more judgemental toward people. I didn’t used to be.”

Caputo told the court Paul has two prior sexual assault files on his record, one of them included similar circumstances at the Lansdowne bus loop.

Two days after the North Shore assault, Paul was seen with a group of people allegedly breaking into vehicles outside of a Tranquille liquor store, Caputo said. He smelled of alcohol and was highly-intoxicated, unable to stand on his own. He was arrested for breaching his probation order which included not consuming alcohol and remains in custody.

Provincial court judge Stella Frame gave Paul the opportunity to speak after hearing the victim's statement.

He spoke about his young son and how he had to pay child support for him. He told Frame he was sorry for his actions.

“She’s 17, you scared her," Frame said. "It’s not about apologizing to me. She has to take the bus, she has to get out at that stop.”

Paul pleaded guilty to breaching his probation order and sexually assaulting the girl in court today, less than two weeks after the offence. Caputo and defence lawyer Murray Armstrong entered a joint-submission of a three to four month jail sentence, which Frame was not satisfied with.

“I cannot… tinker with that joint submission," Frame said. "But I can tell you that 120 days would not satisfy me. It would be higher.”

Frame cited Paul's two prior sexual assault convictions, which she said were "almost identical" in the circumstances.

Paul is required to register as a sex offender and since it's his third sexual assault conviction, that title will apply to him for the rest of his life. He will have to spend an additional 45 days in jail for breaching his probation order. Paul will be put on a 12 month probation after his release.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or call 250-319-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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