'Predatory' sex offender who targeted vulnerable teen faces year-long prison term

Preyed on vulnerable teen

The Crown wants a “predatory” sex offender who took advantage of a grieving 14-year-old girl jailed for up to a year.

The 44-year-old man cannot be named under a court-ordered publication ban put in place to protect the identity of the victim. Castanet is also not naming the rural Kamloops-area community in which the offence took place because doing so could identify the victim.

The man stood trial in B.C. Supreme Court in November and he was convicted on Dec. 19 of one count of sexual interference of a person under 16.

The man and the teen met up a number of times late in 2018 and engaged in sex. Court heard the girl lied about her age, telling the man she was 16.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Joel Groves found the man guilty based on sexual contact he had with the girl the first time they met up, before she told him she was 16. He acquitted him on a charge of sexual assault.

During a sentencing hearing on Monday, Crown prosecutor Leah Winters called the man’s actions “predatory” and said the girl had recently lost a sibling, throwing her family life into chaos.

The man contacted her on social media and arranged a series of meetings.

“She did not have adequate support — nobody was really paying attention to what she was going through,” Winters said.

“In that environment, [the man] took advantage of that situation in order to facilitate this sexual contact.”

Winters sought a jail sentence in the six- to 12-month range to be followed by a year-long period of probation.

Defence lawyer Joe Killoran suggested a two-year suspended sentence — probation — or a 90-day jail sentence to be served on weekends.

No matter what happens, the man will be required to submit a sample of his DNA to a national criminal database and to register as a sex offender for 20 years.

He remains free on bail and will return to court for sentencing on April 4.

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