The mother of a toddler raped by her boyfriend repeatedly over many months was convicted of sexual assault in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack on Wednesday.
The woman, S.K.P., whose name cannot be reported due to a publication ban, wept openly as Justice William Grist read his decision that while there was no proof she ever took part, she was legally guilty of the sexual assault charge in that she aided and abetted the ongoing crime by her “culpable acquiescence.”
The case dates back to 2012 when a man, K.C, who also cannot be named, was caught in the act of sexually assaulting the then three-year-old girl at the couple’s downtown Chilliwack home.
It was later discovered he had been raping the girl for many months, mostly while she was just two years old.
The man’s cellphone was seized and, along with another cellphone and a computer, he was also found to be in possession of 777 images and 72 videos that meet the legal definition of child pornography.
He was convicted in 2014 and sentenced to 12 years in jail.
S.K.P. was then charged with sexual assault and failure to provide the necessaries of life.
During the trial on the charge of sexual assault, K.C. testified that on more than one occasion, S.K.P. watched the abuse and even took part occasionally. Given the amount of lying to police and in the courtroom during his trial, K.C.’s credibility was lacking as a witness.
Still, Grist found that because S.K.P. knew for almost a year the sexual abuse of her daughter continued, and because she did nothing, that constituted aiding and abetting the crime.
“The accused admits that K.C. made requests [to have sex with the girl], maybe a couple of times a month, and that from January 2012 the sexual assaults were continuing,” Grist said. “A failure to act can constitute aiding and abetting.”
By way of precedent, the judge pointed to a case of second-degree murder on a husband and wife who had been beating a young child. The husband finally killed the child and the wife, too, was convicted for aiding and abetting by failing to stop the abuse she knew was taking place.
“She is guilty of being a party to a large number of sexual assaults,” Grist said of S.K.P. in finding her guilty.
On the charge of failure to provide the necessaries of life, Grist found S.K.P. not guilty because he could not determine that the young girl was in imminent threat of death.
During final submissions in December, Grist expressed his uneasiness with the charge, stating that S.K.P.’s failure to notify the authorities did not necessarily constitute a direct threat to life.
“Necessaries has to be something that puts the child in imminent peril of death. I’m a little concerned about that aspect of it,” he said.
Crown counsel Carolyn Kramer argued, on the contrary, that S.K.P.’s failure to act constituted a “marked departure from the conduct of a reasonably prudent person in similar circumstances,” which was enough to convict.
After conviction, the parties agreed a pre-sentence report would be prepared with a psychological component. S.K.P. is due back in court to be sentenced June 15.