Penticton man found guilty of sexually touching 13-year-old - InfoNews

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Penticton man found guilty of sexually touching 13-year-old

Robert Morin was found guilty of sexual interference and sexual touching under 16 in a decision handed down in Penticton court today, June 7, 2019.
June 07, 2019 - 6:00 PM

PENTICTON - A Penticton man was found guilty in Penticton court today of sexually touching a 13-year-old girl.

Robert Morin faced a decision by Judge Robert Cullen following a trial on four charges including sexual interference of a person under 16, sexual assault, invitation to sexual touching and telecommunications to lure a child under 16.

The incidents are believed to have taken place between Aug. 1 and Oct. 31, 2016 in Morin’s motel room. Morin was arrested on Sept. 5, 2017.

Court heard Morin and the victim first met through Facebook messenger and an online dating app when she was 13.

They began sexting, sending explicit photos of each other, and eventually met in person in a Kelowna parking lot, where a conversation regarding their ages took place in August, 2016.

A third person involved in the conversation was upset about the victim’s age, but Morin did not seem to mind.

They drove to Morin’s Penticton motel room where they stayed for the following week.

The victim testified she and the accused had sex four times, while two other occupants, who were also staying in the room, were apparently asleep.

The victim was located by police when an officer visited Morin’s room while searching for her on Oct. 13, 2016. She was taken to social services, later suffered a ‘meltdown’ and ended up in a Kelowna psychiatric ward.

The victim’s mother discovered text messages sent between the victim and Morin, took screenshots and gave them to police.

Defence lawyer James Pennington said during the trial the victim’s testimony should be questioned because it was “clear she did not want to be there,” saying she was under pressure to tell police what they wanted to hear.

Judge Cullen said he found the victim’s evidence straightforward, even after taking into account possible pressure from police. He said her reluctance to testify arose from a desire not to cause trouble for others who were in the motel room including the accused. 

“As to his knowledge that she was 13, I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that at all material times after they met in person, he was aware that she was 13,” the judge said, noting the Kelowna parking lot conversation was witnessed by a third person. “I accept beyond reasonable doubt, he became aware of it at least when they initially met in Kelowna.”

The judge did not find enough evidence to support the telecommunications charge, saying he had a doubt as to when Morin knew of the victim’s age prior to meeting her in person.

He found Morin guilty of sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching under 16.

Crown prosecutor Kurt Froehlich stayed the charge of sexual assault.

Morin’s next appearance is scheduled for July 22, following defence lawyer James Pennington’s request for a pre-sentence report.

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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News from © Infotel News Ltd, 2019
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