Pedophile jailed for 2 years

An Osoyoos man has been sentenced to two years in prison for sexually abusing an 11-year-old boy over the span of months.

Shawn Berry Titus, 36, appeared in Penticton court Thursday to receive sentencing after pleading guilty to one count of sexual assault and two counts of breaching bail conditions.

Titus met the boy at a local rec centre while playing basketball and befriended him. Police began investigating in Oct. 2016 following a complaint from the boy’s elementary school principal, stating Titus had been hanging around school with the boy and a teacher heard “sleepovers” had taken place.

An investigation eventually disclosed that Titus had “mutually masturbated” and performed oral sex with the boy about 10 times over the span of “a few months.”

Judge Michelle Daneliuk ruled that Titus had put himself in a position of trust with the victim, and that some degree of grooming prior to the offence took place.

There was no victim-impact statement submitted to the court, but Daneliuk noted that it may take years for the impacts of the sexual abuse to manifest in the boy given his young age.

“It is not uncommon to see offenders before the court who claim they themselves have been victims of abuse in their youth,” she said, explaining Titus himself said he was sexually abused as a child.

Daneliuk said she “hopes and expects” the victim is provided with support “so that the cycle of abuse does not continue to perpetuate itself.”

Titus has been diagnosed with a long list of mental disorders. In June 2016, prior to the offense, Titus was actually formally diagnosed with a pedophillic disorder for an attraction to boys.

“Rather than pursue treatment through Interior Health, however, Mr. Titus advised [psychiatrist] that he would look to his religious community for help," Daneliuk said.

The court heard earlier that Titus’ Jehovah's Witness church instead completely excommunicated him.

Daneliuk pointed to the fact that Titus’ original confession of the sexual abuse was made to his manager at a fast food restaurant as proof he had no outlet to talk about his demons.

While Titus has been eager for treatment, Daneliuk noted that he has demonstrated “an inability to fully recognize the magnitude of his conduct and blameworthiness,” due to his belief that he was “preyed on” by the boy.

Titus appeared via video from Okanagan Correctional Centre in Oliver, as his bail was revoked due to a pair of significant breaches. He was caught making inappropriate comments to a group of 16 to 18-year-old girls at a public pool, which he was banned from under his bail conditions.

He was also caught drinking in a park — where he was also barred from — with a group of adults.

Daneliuk accepted the Crown’s sentencing submission of two years less a day in prison and three years probation. Titus will also be required to register as a sex offender for 20 years and will be banned from parks, pools and other places frequented by children for a decade.

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