Halifax man sentenced to only five years in prison after years of rape and abuse of young girl

9 Sep

TW for rape, child abuse, victim-blaming

There is a story in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald today about a woman who was sexually abused by her mother and her mother’s common-law boyfriend from the age of eleven. It started with the man coming into the girl’s bedroom at night and reaching up under her nightie to fondle her; she screamed for her mother, but her mother was too drunk to respond. When the girl was twelve, her mother – her own mother – coached her on giving blow jobs to this man. The abuse continued until the girl was fifteen, often taking the form of, in her words, a “sick threesome” with her mother and her mother’s boyfriend.

When the girl was fifteen she told her mother’s boyfriend that she would report him to the police. He told her that she couldn’t, because her mother was too deeply implicated. “How could you do this to your own mother?” were his exact words.

After that the abuse stopped. Eleven years later the girl, now married with children of her own, pressed charges against her abusers.

Both the girl’s mother and the man, who separated several years ago, plead guilty. The mother was supposed to be sentenced this week, but her case was adjourned until the end of the month. The man was sentenced recently in a Halifax provincial court to five years in prison.

Five. Years.

This man preyed on a young girl – a young girl who also happened to be his live-in girlfriend’s daughter – for four years. For three of those years he demanded oral sex from her almost every day. From a twelve year old. With her mother’s “help.” As a child – and I cannot emphasize enough that she was a child throughout all of this – she spent four years being raped on a near-daily basis.

I can’t even imagine the toll that this has taken on her. She will live with the emotional and physical fallout of these experiences for the rest of her life.

And him? The rapist? Well, he’ll be free as a bird in five years’ time. 

Why only five years? Because, according to Crown attorney Chris Nicholson, the man was smart enough to plead guilty and he had no previous criminal record.

I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that a person required a previous criminal record in order to receive adequate sentencing for years of abuse and rape of a minor. 

This story has received almost no attention. A friend of mine in Halifax tried to contact the national media, but they just took her name and number and said they would call her back. They never called her back. They either just weren’t interested or else felt that it was too contentious – but given the high-profile treatment other rape cases have received in the media, the latter doesn’t seem very likely, does it? Perhaps they were put off by the fact that the complainant’s identity is protected by a publication ban but, again, that didn’t stop anyone when it came to Steubenville’s Jane Doe, did it? And anyway what’s important here isn’t who the complainant is, but the fact that our court system seems to have so little regard for what happened to her. What’s important is that other young girls (and boys, for that matter) feel safe coming forward with these types of accusations. A sentence of five years will not make anyone feel safe.

The unbelievably light sentencing and the lack of media attention shows how little we value the safety of young girls. I mean, we’re happy to provide them with all kinds of tips on how not to get raped, but when they are assaulted – often, as in this case, in their own home and by someone they know and trust – we check out. We’re done. We stop talking about it. Because maybe she somehow provoked it, or maybe she didn’t fight him off hard enough, or maybe it’s just too sad and uncomfortable and we don’t want to think about it. We don’t want to accept that this type of abuse is the reality for so many kids out there.

Five years in prison, you guys. That is what our court system thinks is an adequate punishment for repeatedly raping a young girl from the time she was eleven until she was fifteen. Five years for a lifetime of shame and hurt, and the media doesn’t care. No one seems to care. 

This is what rape culture looks like. 

Halifax courthouse

Halifax courthouse

59 Responses to “Halifax man sentenced to only five years in prison after years of rape and abuse of young girl”

  1. rdra September 9, 2014 at 6:20 pm #

    Disgusting and so expected! Nothing seems to change. We need more female judges and all judges need to be educated as to the life-long damage that even one incident of abuse can cause. The criminal code needs to require stronger mandatory sentences for any crimes against children and especially sexual crimes!

    • Name September 12, 2014 at 7:58 pm #

      “We need more female judges and all judges need to be educated…”

      I love how the comments and article paint this as a “women’s issue” when I absolutely guarantee the mother will get hardly any sentence compared to the man, even though they were both partaking in the abuse. If anything the mother was the “pimp” in this scenario, the enabler, and normally pimps are punished a lot more heavily than other parties involved in prostitution (just as an analogy).

      • Plex September 14, 2014 at 5:55 pm #

        You guarantee that, do you? You don’t think that women being seen as “delicate flowers unable to honestly display a vicious criminal mindset” is sexism?

        Yeah, I figured you didn’t think it through. That part, at least, is obvious. *why* you didn’t think it through, though, is a mystery.

  2. Pelelotus September 9, 2014 at 6:45 pm #

    Poor woman,to be betrayed by those that you trusted the most and to have the justice system give her abusers a mere slap on the wrist. Hope she is moving forward and coping the best she can. Justice has been denied for too long and society has down played/made excuses for rapists and victim blamed. Very depressing.

    • Timwhizzy November 17, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

      You know what is even more disgusting than this story? The fact that if the perpetrator was female, she would get less than half of the jail time (if any at all), in the highly unlikely chance that the charge was even taken seriously.

      So, why aren’t you writing about how horrible her cunt of a mother is for using / molesting / not protecting her own daughter? Oh right! Because of “rape culture”! No matter what, it’s always a mans fault! When a mother fails at being a mother, it’s always because of men and their tendency toward rapin’ behavior. This way, women can do whatever they choose, and never be held accountable

  3. D.T. Nova September 9, 2014 at 6:46 pm #

    They say he had “no previous criminal record”, which might be technically true but doesn’t seem relevant when what he was convicted of was not one isolated crime, but something he did repeatedly over a period of years.

  4. Mario Savioni September 9, 2014 at 6:56 pm #

    Men do not know what it is to be raped. Whether this is a male or female judge, it would appear that precedent was most likely established by men, which a female judge would have to follow. Still, the mother, who probably drank herself to unconsciousness because she had no power over her dependency on the man was willing to give her own daughter. To me this is no different from corporate culture, where eventually you give up because you realize you have no power to change things because the issue is about making money, not about people, except in the role they play to make money. The mother wanted this man, apparently, no matter what. I would love to read the decision, but then it probably just boils down to the allowable sentencing of an individual for rape under circumstances that may appear less heinous than say by a stranger. Perhaps, her abusers were her only witnesses and in the uncertainty of her testimony against theirs the issue of the ultimate sentence was waived. As a society, we aren’t much for feelings and the mental damage affected by such events. We tend to think of physical scars rather than mental ones.

    • Adam Grant September 10, 2014 at 1:48 am #

      I think you might want to re-think your first statement. Men can (and are) victims of sexual violence. But you’re correct when you say that sentencing is guided by what has been done before.

      • Vehtec September 14, 2014 at 1:51 am #

        I agree with Adam Yes men do know what it is to be raped and because we are supposed to be the strong ones, this only makes the healing process even longer as we tend to hold it all inside and try to deal with it on our own to avoid the embarassment

    • Billy September 13, 2014 at 3:17 pm #

      He should have been charged with a minimum of 730 counts of rape!!…and thats at every other day..over a 4 year period…but it was probably more.

    • Timwhizzy November 17, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

      Actually, you’re an idiot. Men definitely experience rape; either anally or orally (last I checked, we don’t have a vagina).

      And, Judging from a brief survey of my female friends, i would bet that if forced to choose, most women would opt to experience vaginal or oral rape than anal. Given that most women are raped vaginally or orally, and most men are raped anally, who do you think has it worse when it comes to rape?

      • Jennie December 28, 2014 at 10:11 am #

        Who has it worse? Oh give me a break. Last time I checked women DO get raped anally, AS WELL AS orally and vaginally. It all depends on the attacker’s perverse preference. You making rape into a game of “who gets it worse” is ridiculous and ignorant.

  5. lizzie September 9, 2014 at 7:06 pm #

    sigh.. “no previous criminal record”.. as if all committed crimes are ‘recorded’..
    Why should that matter.. a crime is a crime and as said, she will have to live with the implications of this for the rest of her life (that doesn’t mean -off course- that she ‘has’ to be defined by them.. I hope she finds the courage within herself and hopefully a good support system to not be defined by it because as you write: neither the judicial system, media nor society (through judicial and media) seem to ‘take care’ of their part in this matter.

  6. justme3362 September 9, 2014 at 7:18 pm #

    Thank you for sharing, as always. What a sham our courts are.

  7. swo8 September 9, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

    I agree it is a shameful sham.

  8. smartypants196 September 9, 2014 at 8:39 pm #

    Outrageous, the continued abuse of women and girls tells us about our society about its deep dark secret. One in three women have been abused. Just like Ray Rice, his girlfriend admitted her part in the beating, really? Her face happened to get in the way of his fist? In a country where even women don’t know who Gloria Steinem is, this should be a wake up call. Stop protecting these monsters. Feminism should be a current trend and is just as vital as it was thirty-five years ago. The NFL tried to sweep this under the rug, where is the crime of that? And even though the wife won’t press charges, society should give this man a trial and sentence him to jail. No slap on the wrist for monsters. He’s only upset that the TMZ tape came out. He’s a coward, and he knows it. He’s a criminal and he knows it. The NFL should have charges pressed against it. And who gives these players hero status anyway? Just more of the same bullshit, women unite, women come together, and stop this problem

    • Timwhizzy November 17, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

      What about little boys molested by women? Are they not important?

      • Jennie December 28, 2014 at 10:16 am #

        We are not talking about little boys being molested by women. We are talking about, essentially how a patriarchal system of judges (male judges, male sympathizing/woman hating female judges protect other men from an appropriate jail term for their actions.

  9. homeofmywords September 9, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

    This is absolutely horrifying. Five years in prison for the disgusting man, and a lifetime of horrendous memories and aftermath of abuse for the victim. How could anyone remotely believe that is the right sentence?

  10. Gavin Magrath September 9, 2014 at 9:26 pm #

    I am just sick to say that he will be free in less than five years. On parole, maybe, but free.

  11. ussaywhat September 9, 2014 at 10:23 pm #

    Wise up its about money- her parents werent wealthy and neither was she- nobody gives a fuck about poor children male or female being molested. You can be the outcome would have been different if the girls parents had money and she was being molested by someone other than them.

  12. Susan P September 9, 2014 at 10:43 pm #

    It’s an unfortunate story that has been repeated many times in many families perpetrated by family members themselves.

  13. Kasey Weird September 9, 2014 at 11:09 pm #

    “This man ruined this girl’s life; I guarantee you that she will never, ever recover from what he did to her. ” <- I have a serious problem with the fact that you just declared someone to be irrevocably and forever broken. I think it's really important to find a way to emphasis the absolute awfulness of what this man did without writing off his victim and her ability to have a good, not-totally-ruined-forever, life. She can, and hopefully will, have joy and wonder in her life. Her life is not "ruined". It has contained a giant ball of unimaginable horror, and the people who perpetrated that horror should never have any contact with any children ever again.

    But just no to declaring her a hopeless, broken person who cannot recover. That's not ok.

    • woollythinker September 10, 2014 at 8:58 am #

      Agree completely – I was just about to post the same thing. I don’t want to in any way diminish the awfulness of what was done, but it’s not for any of us to judge the brokenness of the victim.

      Everyone experiences trauma differently. Some recover easily, some never do. How the victim deals with her experiences, or whether she experiences her life as “forever ruined”, has nothing to do with the culpability of the perpetrator.

      I also happen to think that the common cultural assessment of rape/sexual assault as the worst thing that can happen, a “fate worse than death” and impossible to recover from, is deeply unhealthy and not an idea I want to pass on to my daughter. It smacks just a tiny bit of the old idea that a raped woman is “sullied”, and definitely doesn’t leave much room for finding the strength to get over it. Which – again – many do. I know that some women do feel they wish they’d been killed, or they will never ever be whole again, and I don’t mean to erase their experiences; but nobody *has* to feel that way.

      • helen September 11, 2014 at 6:48 pm #

        I strongly agree that objectively defining rape as “the worst thing that can happen” is unhealthy, and does nothing to help victims cope and heal.

    • bellejarblog September 10, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

      Thanks for your feedback! I definitely didn’t mean to imply that she’s broken or damaged – just that in my (totally subjective experience) sexual trauma is something that I’ve never fully “recovered” from, just learned to live with and manage. But I totally get what you’re saying, and removed the sentence. Thank you!

      • Kasey Weird September 10, 2014 at 4:33 pm #

        ❤ I did suspect that your reaction might be based in personal experience. And it is definitely true that many people who experience abuse and especially sexual trauma deal with lifelong impact from that. It's hard.

        Thanks for taking on the criticism, and keep on being awesome. 🙂

      • runningnekkid September 14, 2014 at 4:52 am #

        I fucking LOVE you, especially for shit like this. ❤

  14. Adam Grant September 10, 2014 at 1:36 am #

    I’m always disturbed by stories that are not highly publicized by the media. I don’t see any grand conspiracy, just the reality that media is entertainment. Some stories, like this horrific one, are just too awful to even feed even the most sensational appetites.

    While the readers above seem to support the idea of increased penalties, I don’t believe some of your fellow travellers (New Democrats, lefties, progressives of all sorts) would share your outrage at the five year sentence. If you’d like proof, well, here’s Halifax MP Megan Leslie eloquently arguing that 15 years is sometimes enough time for first degree murder (http://goo.gl/aO3V0s). As she says at 1625, “This bill [S-6, to eliminate the 15 year faint hope clause] is an absolutely unjust bill. I think of Gandhi who said that an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. What we are doing here is punishing for punishment’s sake. It does not make good sense and it is unjust.”

    I’m don’t believe most Canadians would agree that 15 years is ever enough for premeditated murder. But using that rubric, five years for horrific sex crimes begins to make sense. Gordon Stuckless (the Maple Leaf Gardens usher) abused 24 boys and was only sentenced to two years, later increased to five (http://goo.gl/976w3w). Sadly, that seems to be in keeping with the sentence handed out here.

    As the Global story noted, the federal government introduced a bill (C-26) back in the spring that would impose mandatory minimums on child sex abusers, and require them to serve each sentence separately. It would be nice to think it would have all party support in the House–but in a country where any call for tougher penalties is met with a chorus of “BUT CRIME IS FALLING”, I doubt it will.

    • Katie September 11, 2014 at 8:37 am #

      I completely disagree. I am a “leftie” and I think that both the mother’s boyfriend and mother should be kept in prison for as long as possible. I find it offensive that you need to turn this into a left wing vs right wing issue. It’s not; the issue is that a child was raped almost daily and the people who did that to her won’t be put away for nearly enough time.
      Let’s keep the focus of this discussion on that.

      • Adam Grant September 15, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

        Good! I’m glad to hear it! I think this is a dialogue you need to have on your side of the political spectrum. I believe lots of your fellow travellers don’t feel the same way. There seems to be a real disconnect between the way the left views “CRIME” (a sociological phenomenon caused by inequality, etc.) and individual specific crimes.

  15. Adam Grant September 10, 2014 at 1:43 am #

    Oh, and a small correction. He will be free in 3.3 years or less. He is entitled to mandatory release after serving 2/3rds of his sentence. He is also entitled to credit for any time served pre-trial, which may be counted at double value.

  16. rachelraine September 10, 2014 at 11:55 am #

    Reblogged this on Books, Quotes and Chatter and commented:
    Absolutely appalling.

  17. Tee September 10, 2014 at 5:46 pm #

    I think she is incredibly brave to have eventually stood up to the guy, and her mother. The message she sends to other kids out there in similar situations that they do have power in their own lives. Tell someone, anyone.

  18. lisa September 10, 2014 at 7:05 pm #

    Absolutely despicable! To think that she would endure that during her childhood and no one knew. And her own mother would do that to her. What happened to maternal instinct!! Protecting our children!! The one person you should be able to trust to protect you is your mother who gave birth to you! She should get life!

  19. Luanne September 10, 2014 at 10:00 pm #

    And they wonder why some women don’t bother reporting. And by women I guess I mean men, too.

  20. SRL September 11, 2014 at 12:35 am #

    This is. So sad. To make this even uglier…with our Canadian penal system he will likelly be heald in minimum security institutions and be out on parole within 2.5 year’s. . This needs to be addressed…

  21. Darlene Mallaley September 11, 2014 at 12:44 am #

    This is our so called justice system its a joke. Those two beast shouldn’t see the light of day. Again, and a judge should try and put himself in the body of this person and think it could of been his or her own child that this happened too we need a long hard look at our justice system and there needs to be alot of changes done..

  22. sodales September 11, 2014 at 4:07 am #

    He’ll be out after serving 2/3 of the sentence with good behavior.

    What would have been a proper prison sentence?

  23. Skippy September 11, 2014 at 9:07 am #

    And people are still doin more time for weed. No wonder i dont wanna have no kids. Worlds too fucked. 5 years.? Guy should be put on death row

  24. Kali September 11, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

    The justice system is disgusting where ever you are 😦 I was sexually abused by my own dad for 5 years, he got 9 months in prison and was let out after 6 months for good behaviour. Thankfully I have a fabulous mum who stood by my side and got rid of the bastard the day she found out.

  25. misscookas September 12, 2014 at 10:15 am #

    How terrible. Since becoming a Mum, six months ago, every time I hear things like this, something inside me just…ugh. I actually have no words. Which is dumb, since I’m commenting on your post ;p Thank you for sharing. I will think on this post and see if I can find any words to match the way this horrid story makes me feel. xx

  26. Me September 12, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

    We need a petition and lobbying to change the law in sentencing regarding child abuse. Election is coming up. This is a good time for it.

    • My Life As A Voyeur September 14, 2014 at 5:32 pm #

      People in this country have been marching, lock-step, to the polls for well over two hundred years, ever seeking change, yet the beat goes on; the politicians move slowly, yet steadfastly, toward a one world rule.

      As a nation of people, this running to the polls has continued, yet we move further away from the ambitions of freedom. When one continuously keeps doing the same stupid thing over and over again, it is a good sign of insanity. Are we?

      Erik Dayton Sarke

  27. Jo September 12, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

    I agree the rapist should have been sentenced to a longer term. In terms of journalism, however, from an ethical standpoint this isn’t an easy story to report. Too many details, and the victim’s identity could be found through some well-conducted research.

  28. Christina Bourgeois September 12, 2014 at 7:19 pm #

    Our Canadian justice system is never harsh enough when it comes to sex or violent crimes in my opinion. Look at Karla Homolka, free to have a family and enjoy the rest of her life. When will her sister or Kristen French or Leslie Mahaffy be free to do the same? It hardly seems fair.

  29. My Life As A Voyeur September 14, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

    This is a quote from my blog, http://www.letusnotsleep.net, excerpted from a column entitled, “Anarchy anyone?”

    Psalms 58:3-5 “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear; Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely.”

    In my humble opinion, the people of the world should consider this their lodestone, particularly with regards to governments. If you accept, as do I, the above passage from the Bible as truth irrefutable, then how can we consider those in power worthy of our trust?

    This passage from God’s Word, the Bible, clearly states each and every human being’s condition as soon as we leave the womb. Each of us are capable of unbelievable atrocities. Just take a look around you. Knowing this, why on earth would we entrust such awesome powers to any of us? We have been trusting in this “system” for over 200 years, faithfully going to the polls to cast our votes and, yet, our condition as a nation, morally, spiritually, physically and emotionally, continues to deteriorate. I’ve heard it said that when you keep doing the same stupid thing over and again, it is a good indicator of insanity? Are we?

    These videos and writings are provided for your edification. Consider carefully, for your very life and freedom depend on what we commonly accept as truth. There is indeed power in knowledge. Ignorance is the very antithesis of a free humanity.

    “There is no one so hopelessly enslaved, as he who falsely believes he is free.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    The move toward anarchy is a long and arduous move in the right direction. However, a more expedient move in the direction of the solving of all rapes, regardless their circumstances, is an insistence that the people of this nation put their foot down and see that no one remain above ground once conviction of such heinous crimes occurs.

    Anyone anywhere, no matter their race, creed, religion, politics or station in life, that commits such crimes are to be tried by their peers and, when found convicted, are to be hung, in public and on public TV, no later than two days following trial and conviction. There would be a public announcement, while a video is displayed showing the hanging of the rightly convicted, that makes it clear that the exact same sort of execution, public hanging, would be carried out for the crime(s) of rape. No exceptions. No excuses. Period.

    Foremost, our abandonment of God and His Bible and the reliance upon thugs and criminals to redefine God’s laws with those that can only, ultimately, give them the total controls they so zealously seek. Stop relying on others that come out of the womb, same as you, and go to the Bible for your guidance.

    Erik Dayton Sarke

    • Timwhizzy November 17, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

      So you think that if people aren’t bible thumpers like yourself, they default to being child molesters? Wow. 😔

      Following logic, this means, that the only thing stopping you from molesting children is the bible. 😗

      Personally, I think that religious bumfucks like yourself are the same type of people who rape children (see catholic priests).

  30. mireladashi September 16, 2014 at 8:24 am #

    Reblogged this on killjoypristine.

  31. Colleen Murphy September 17, 2014 at 2:30 am #

    I two am a victim of sex abuse, she was brave enough to come forward . I am appalled by the five year sentence, we have a life sentence of horrific nightmares and therapy, that’s why a lot of women do not come forward, theirs no justice for that little girl , just a lifetime of hell!

  32. Penny September 20, 2014 at 3:37 pm #

    I always wonder how no one else in the family picks up on this in some way, say a grandparent or an aunt or uncle or something, or a neighbour or friend. Having said that, family and friends and neighbours can be remarkably ‘blind’ to what’s not normal. I once reported a neighbour to our landlord (it was housing association property) that the baby was left crying all night; the solution was to move the tenant with the baby to another flat. I was worried about the baby, not the noise, but somehow it all went wrong, no one seemed worried about the child. I think this is a big reflection on current society, right up to ‘Where have all the toyshops gone? ‘ (Note: if many adults hear the word ‘toys’ today, they are more likely to think you are talking about sex toys). it’s all very bad for children in today’s world and has been for some time now.

  33. Wilson October 3, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    Again you are a brilliant troll. What sentence would you hand down and why? Please detail how your sentence would act as a deterrent and aid in preventing this type of heinous crime.

  34. pinkkhan2 March 9, 2015 at 10:34 am #

    Very Nice


  1. Worth Reading — 9/24/14 | A Touch of Cass - September 24, 2014

    […] The Belle Jar: This is What a Rape Culture Looks Like […]

  2. What consequences for the abuser? | the voice of la quemada - April 15, 2015

    […] Halifax man sentenced to only five years in prison after years of rape and abuse of young girl. […]

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