Kamloops man in his 60s pleads guilty to having relationship with underage neighbour

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO

KAMLOOPS - A Kamloops man in his early 60s has pleaded guilty to having a sexual relationship with his 14-year-old next door neighbour and he could find out tomorrow how long he will spend in jail.

The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, will spend at least one year behind bars after admitting to sexually touching, directly or indirectly, his family friend.

Crown prosecutor Catriona Elliott told the court the girl’s mother found messages on her daughter’s cell phone in November 2015, showing a sexual relationship between the girl and her neighbour. At the time of the discovery, the girl was 17 and the man was 61.

“Their relationship was ongoing at the time of this discovery,” Elliott said.

The relationship originally began in January 2013, when the victim was 14. Court heard the accused would babysit the victim’s younger siblings and she would go to his house with them.

Elliott says the girl told police and her mother the sexual touching in their relationship began when she was 14 and when she turned 15 they began having sexual intercourse.

But defence lawyer Micah Rankin argued that this wasn’t a situation where the accused was in a position of power.

“It began innocently as a friendship,” Rankin said.

Kamloops Supreme Court judge Dev Dley fired back at the claim, saying this relationship was clearly a breach of trust considering the family had faith in the accused to babysit their children.

“If you’re going to gloss over that, you do it at your own peril,” Dley told Rankin.

Rankin said the Crown had not alleged a breach of trust as an aggravating factor in the case, but Dley said whether the Crown alleges it or not, he needs to assess all of the factors.

“A joint submission is not going to be blindly followed by the court,” Dley said. “I have raised a concern that based on what I’ve heard, this is a breach of trust.

“This man took advantage of a young lady when he was entrusted in her care by her mother.”

Rankin told the court he wasn’t trying to downplay the offence, only clarify that the victim was not directly being babysat by the accused.

“In no sense am I trying to justify what (the accused) did,” he said.

Dley asked both Crown and defence to bring forward case law, which would give him an appropriate range to consider for sentencing in similar cases.

Elliott told the court the mandatory minimum for this offence is one year in prison, which is what both lawyers are seeking as a fit sentence.

They’re expected to continue sentencing submissions tomorrow morning, Jan. 10.

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