BC man to be extradited to U.S. on charge of sexually assaulting 13-year-old

Faces sex charge extradition

A Vancouver Island man has been committed for extradition to the U.S. on charges of sexual assault against his 13-year-old stepdaughter.

The man, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, was taken into custody last week and is awaiting a decision by the federal justice minister on whether he will be surrendered to U.S. authorities.

The accused has the right to appeal the committal order and to apply for bail, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Brian MacKenzie noted in his Jan. 23 decision. He cannot be surrendered to the U.S. until 30 days after the committal order.

The state of Utah is seeking extradition to prosecute the man for “continuously” sexually assaulting his stepdaughter between June 2012 and June 2014. The offences are alleged to have taken place in Utah, where the man lived with his wife at the time and her daughter.

Although the girl disclosed the alleged abuse to her mother in mid-June 2014, they did not report it to police until Nov. 4, 2014.

The girl was interviewed by trained forensic interviewers. According to court documents, the stepfather left Utah on the same day the abuse was reported.

U.S. authorities said he “fled to Canada.” The stepfather said his marriage was over and he had already made plans to leave that day.

In June 2015, he was charged with several criminal offences and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

The accused is fighting ­extradition, arguing that “the committal proceeding is so unfair it would be an abuse of process and contrary to the ­principles of fundamental ­justice to order his committal given … the inexplicable and inordinate delay in arresting him some five years after charges were filed,” according to ­MacKenzie’s decision.

The accused also told the court there is no evidence that U.S. and Canadian authorities made considerable efforts to locate him. He said he left Canada in May 2015 and travelled to other countries before returning in October 2019. He said he used his Canadian passport for four years and was never arrested or detained. He returned to Canada with his valid Canadian passport without incident.

After his return, he lived with his parents and was issued a B.C. driver’s licence with their address.

“It was only after approximately nine months during which time he lived with his parents [outside Victoria], did he or his family have any contact with a law enforcement agency,” said MacKenzie.

The man was arrested on June 16, 2020 and released on “significant” bail on July 29, 2020.

The judge concluded the delay did not render the extradition hearing unfair or contrary to the principles of fundamental justice. He did not accept the accused’s argument that the RCMP were duplicitous or ­complicit in the delay in bringing the accused before the court.

“I am satisfied that sufficient evidence exists upon which a reasonable jury, properly instructed, could return a verdict of guilty had the conduct occurred in Canada,” MacKenzie concluded, committing the accused for extradition to the U.S. for the offence of sexual assault.

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