Osoyoos man gets two years for child sexual assault | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Osoyoos man gets two years for child sexual assault

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
September 13, 2018 - 1:36 PM


PENTICTON - An Osoyoos man will spend two years in prison following sentencing today on charges of sexual assault and breaching court-ordered release conditions.

Judge Michelle Daneliuk handed down her decision in Penticton court today, Sept. 13, following Shawn Titus’s guilty pleas on one count of sexual assault and two counts of breaching his release conditions. A publication ban prevents mention of any details heard in court that may identify the victim.

Titus was 34 years old and his male victim was 11 years old when the offences occurred over several months in 2016.

Court heard the two met at a local community centre and began spending time at a local gym, playing video games together and collecting bottles at the gym. Warning signals were raised in the community after it was noticed Titus and his victim were spending an inordinate amount of time together.

In rendering her decision, Judge Daneliuk said the victim’s school principal became concerned when made aware of Titus’s closer than normal relationship with the boy, which included sleepovers at Titus’s residence. By this time, the victim was telling people Titus was his brother, which he made no effort to correct.

Police were made aware of the relationship and contacted the victim’s mother, who told police Titus was with the boy every day. The victim was interviewed and admitted the friendship with Titus, but did not mention any sexual contact.

Titus was also interviewed, revealing he thought boys’ bodies were "works of art." He also had a photo of the victim on his cell phone, dressed only in shorts, but did not admit any wrongdoing at that time.

It wasn’t until Titus confessed to his employer in February 2017 that the full details of the relationship were revealed, which included mutual masturbation, mutual oral sex on at least 10 occasions, and sleeping and showering together.

Titus was arrested and released under conditions not to be in a public place where youth might be, but he breached those conditions twice. The first time at a community pool where he engaged in conversation with several teenage girls and the second time at Gyro Beach in Osoyoos when children were present.

He was arrested and held in custody on June 18, following the second breach.

Crown prosecutor Andrew Vandersluys requested a sentence of two years followed by three years of probation, while defence lawyer James Pennington asked for a year behind bars and two years of probation.

Justice Daneliuk noted during sentencing the victim’s reluctance to discuss his relationship with Titus, but said impacts on the victim’s life may not be readily apparent. She said Titus was a role model and a man the victim looked up to.

Daneliuk also said Titus had been abused as a child, had few social skills and no friends. He had been plagued with mental problems throughout his life, including chronic depression, generalized anxiety social phobia and intermittent explosive disorder. He also suffers from a number of mental disorders, including pedophilic disorder, but a pre-sentence report and psychological assessment found him a low to moderate risk to reoffend.

The victim’s age, Titus’s abuse while in a position of trust and “grooming behaviour” were aggravating factors, the judge said. Titus, in conversations with police, also attempted to blame the victim for leading him on.

The judge also said Titus’s guilty plea, confession, expression of remorse and his prospects for rehabilitation were positive aspects of his behaviour.

She sentenced Titus to 45 days in jail for each breach and two years less a day for the sexual assault charge. The charges are concurrent, and with 128 days of enhanced credit, Titus has 601 days left to serve.

Upon his release he will be subject to a three-year probationary period and a 10-year prohibition banning him from public places where youth may likely be found.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 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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