Guilty plea in child sex assaults

He was an uncle, a stepfather and a babysitter for a family friend — but he used all those opportunities to sexually assault young children.

He was an uncle, a stepfather and a babysitter for a family friend — but he used all those opportunities to sexually assault young children.

The 42-year-old Chilliwack man, who has pleaded guilty to the charges, choked back tears as he apologized to mothers of two of the victims in provincial court Tuesday.

“I’m so sorry,” he said. “I just don’t want to hurt anybody else.”

A court-ordered ban prevents publication of the accused’s name to protect the identity of the three victims.

Judge Roy C. Dickey said there are “significant” aggravating and mitigating factors in the case that he must weigh before rendering a decision on sentencing.

No date was set Tuesday for sentencing.

Defence counsel is asking for a conditional sentence, while the Crown is asking for a 12-18-month jail term and three years probation. A conditional sentence has an upper limit of two-years less a day.

The first allegation of “inappropriate” touching was made by a nine-year-old boy in 2002, but no charges were laid at the time.

Crown counsel Paul Blessin said after the court hearing Tuesday that the reason was the youngster was unable at the time to express himself in terms that would stand up in court.

But when a second boy made allegations against the accused in 2009, police went back to the first victim who was now 17 years old and more articulate.

He told police the accused touched his genitals “more than 10 times, but not more than 25” and usually when his mother was out of the house.

A third victim was also identified in 2009, who alleged the accused had touched his genitals “over 500 times” and was usually drinking at the time.

Blessin said the assaults were “crimes of opportunity” by the accused when he was in relationships that gave him access to young children, and that alcohol was a factor in most of the incidents.

A psychiatric assessment indicated the accused has difficulty relating to adults after he was sexually abused as a child, and preferred to be with male children he could control or manipulate.

Defence counsel said the accused has taken steps to rehabilitate himself, and pleaded guilty to all the charges to spare the children the trauma of a trial.

She said the accused is on a wait-list for a sex offender treatment program, and has taken alcohol and anger management programs while awaiting court hearings.

“He doesn’t want to hurt anybody else,” she said, and is “extremely remorseful” for what he has done.

A jail term would also mean loss of his job and inability to pay child support payments, she said.

With treatment, the accused is a low to moderate risk for re-offending, according to a court report.

Defence counsel also noted one of the victims refused to testify or to make a victim impact statement, apparently because he does not want to sever his relationship with the accused.