Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Posted: 01/30/2013 4:16 PM | Comments: 0
The fate of a disgraced aboriginal youth leader remains in question after the judge in his sexual assault case agreed to have a psychiatrist conduct a risk assessment on him.
Thomas Edwards was due to be sentenced Wednesday morning for sexually assaulting two male youths between 2003 and 2007. Edwards fondled and molested them under the guise of performing an aboriginal "healing or cleansing ceremony."
He was convicted on Sept. 9, 2012 after a two-week trial.
Crown attorney Jennifer Mann asked the judge for a lengthy jail term. She requested 18 months for his conviction for touching one youth sexually, and another four years for sexually assaulting a victim and refusing to let him leave the room they were in.
Defence counsel Ryan Rolston argued for a conditional sentence of two years less a day.
Queen’s Bench Justice Colleen Suche said she is concerned that Edwards has not admitted his guilt and that many of his supporters also believe he is innocent.
"How do I deal with rehabilitation if somebody doesn’t acknowledge they’ve ever done the act?" Suche said. "How can they be rehabilitated?"
Rolston said it has been five years since Edwards was arrested and he has met his bail conditions. He is employed, and engaged to marry.
Crown attorney Jennifer Mann said she believes Edwards continues to pose a danger. He was a teacher when he was arrested. Fired from that job, he took another teaching position on the Lake Manitoba reserve. He was fired from that one, too.
"His modus operandi is being a loving, caring person who people can’t believe would do this. He has no remorse and is not accepting responsibility. He does pose a risk and that should be taken into consideration."
Edwards gained prominence several years ago as one of the key members of the National Aboriginal Role Model program. Its website lists him as an aspiring actor and public speaker who was dedicated to helping enrich the lives of young people within his community.
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Eadie blasts frontage levy as unfair
Zehaf Bibeau was terrorist, says RCMP
Community discusses Kapyong urban reserve plan
Provincial ombudsmen express concern over anti-terrorism bill
Another delegate controversy
Pallister compares NDP to Ringling Brothers
Women: The hidden homeless
New trial for convicted killer
Missing St. Laurent teen last seen in Winnipeg
New exhibition explores Nunavut's origins
On the trail of a great white: tracking Lydia
Need for shelter never wanes
Beer with him
Kinsmen seek assurances for city pool
Women's game has even more room to grow
Three charged after drugs found in Portage la Prairie home
Homeless, mentally ill get to work on creativity
Local farming app among finalists in national competition
Myers has adapted quickly; stellar play has been godsend for the Jets
Wilco, Arlo Guthrie to perform at 2015 Winnipeg Folk Festival
Light snow expected, warmer temperatures for the weekend
Finding her home away from home
Sri Lanka suspends work on China-backed resort
Ringling Bros. says circuses to be elephant-free in 3 years
UNESCO decries destruction of ancient site in Nimrud, Iraq
Ford's real-life bravado equals Han Solo, Indiana Jones
German Parliament approves quota for female directors
1 month prison for businessman in smuggling of Dodgers' Puig
UK authorities arrest suspect in US DoD cyber attack
Bank of Greece: need progress in talks with creditors
Two more losses finish Manitoba