Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Peeping Tom portrayed as sexual deviant in court

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A Winnipeg man who pleaded guilty to repeatedly beating and raping three girlfriends over several years was portrayed in court today as a brutal, sexual deviant.

Bruce Cassels, 32, had pleaded guilty to four counts of voyeurism, two counts of sexual assault and forcible confinement.

Cassels was initially arrested in late 2009 for spying on a woman at a tanning salon in Winnipeg Square. A subsequent Winnipeg Police investigation found that Cassels had been spying on women at night in the Osborne Village area, videotaping them through their windows as they undressed.

Three women later came forward, alleging that between June 1, 2008 and February 2010, Cassels had been involved with them, repeatedly forcing them to have sex with him, beating them and photographing and videotaping them while they slept in the nude.

At a sentencing hearing today, Crown prosecutor Sharil Thomas described the offences as "crimes of serious sexual deviance."

Thomas said Cassels’ actions called out for a 10-year prison sentence.

One of Cassels’ former girlfriends appeared in court to read a victim impact statement, explaining how she fell in love with Cassels at the age of 19 but he brutalized her and destroyed her life.

"I feel my life was ruined," the woman told court. "I feel ugly, incredibly stupid and useless."

The woman said she contacted police after Cassels’ arrest because she didn’t want him to hurt any other women.

Cassels’ apologized to the woman during the hearing, explaining he’s a changed man who doesn’t want to return to prison.

Defence counsel Mike Cook said Cassels is a changed man after spending 38 months in custody, where he was attacked several times and sexually assaulted by another inmate.

Cook said a 10 year-sentence would permanently cripple Cassels, suggesting a six-year sentence is more appropriate. In addition, Cook said Cassels should be given 1 1/2 times credit for the 38 months he has already served, which would leave him with another 14 months behind bars.

Provincial court Judge Margaret Wiebe reserved her decision.


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