Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Ex-bureaucrat off to prison for sex abuse of boys

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A former civil servant is headed to prison after admitting to a decades-old sex-abuse case that recently came to light.

Melvin Schroeder pleaded guilty to repeatedly molesting two young boys between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s. The two victims, who were known to him, didn’t report the incidents until 2011.

Schroeder served for years as the finance and administration manager for the RM of Hanover before retiring shortly before his arrest.

Provincial court Judge Tim Killeen sentenced Schroeder on Monday to four years and four months behind bars. The Crown had been seeking a six-year term, while defence lawyer John Corona asked for two years.

"Preying on children in this fashion is something none of us can tolerate," Killeen said in handing down his decision.

Schroeder admitted committing numerous sexual assaults on the boys in separate incidents.

The first began around 1986 when the victim, then about 12, would go to his residence to do yard work and watch movies. The second started around 1990 and involved similar acts on the victim, who was also about 12.

Schroeder, who is married with children, repeatedly fondled and tried to engage the boys in various sexual acts, court was told.

"I have nobody else to blame for my actions other than myself," Schroeder said Monday while addressing the two victims in court.

Both men provided emotional impact statements in which they spoke of how the abuse has affected their lives. But they also expressed forgiveness for Schroeder, something he called "mind-boggling."

Schroeder had no criminal record and was an otherwise upstanding community member, his lawyer told court.

Schroeder’s family is continuing to support him, as are many residents of the area who are now aware of what happened.

"Nobody would have ever suspected or dreamed he would be convicted of these types of offences," said Corona. He tried to get the judge to impose a publication ban on his client’s name, a request Killeen denied.

"He’s had his reputation completely destroyed," Corona argued.

As part of his sentence, Schroeder will also be placed on the national sex-offender registry for the next 10 years and be subject to conditions upon his release from prison, including having no unsupervised contact with children under 16.

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