Oliver man sentenced for assaulting six-year-old

KELOWNA – An elder from the Osoyoos Indian Band will serve a 15-month suspended sentence in the community for assaulting a six-year-old.

The details of the assault are protected by a publication ban, but Robert Etienne, a 54-year-old resident of Oliver, admits he touched a six-year-old girl in 2012 in a way that "made her feel uncomfortable," B.C. Supreme Court Justice Peter Rogers heard Tuesday.

The young girl told her mother who notified the RCMP.

Rogers was unable to give a victim impact statement any weight, he said, because the Crown gave so few details of the assault. Other charges were dropped after the guilty plea.

“This leaves me in a bit of a quandary,” Rogers said. “I strongly get the sense from victim impact statements that there’s rather more to it than that… (but) I’m bound to deal with the case as it’s presented to me.”

Without a description of the assault, he says, he is forced to go along with a recommendation on sentencing from prosecutor Wendy Kavanagh and defence lawyer Michael Stephenson.

Etienne was given a suspended sentence of 15 months and forbidden from contacting the victim. Two charges of sexual assault and two charges of sexual interference of a person under 16 were stayed.

Etienne has a criminal record going back to 2006, including an assault in 2010.

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