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Ex-policeman pleads guilty to sexual assault charges

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By Gabrielle Giroday

He’s a former police officer with 18 years on the job, now guilty of sexually assaulting more than 10 women decades younger than him.

Richard Dow, 57, pleaded guilty to 11 counts of sexual assault and one count of simple assault Tuesday for touching women he’d photographed as part of an off-duty modelling business.

The plea came before the first witness was called at a trial where Dow faced 26 charges of sexual assault and sexual exploitation related to 20 complainants.

Instead, before the trial began he ended up pleading guilty to 11 counts of sexual assault, for incidents from 2001 to 2005 that involved women in their late teens or early twenties.

Marty Minuk, the lawyer acting for the Crown, told court the plea had been considered carefully and discussed with the victims who’d come forward.

"We spent a long evening... speaking to them directly," said Minuk.

As a result of the plea, 13 charges were dropped. Dow plead guilty to five counts of sexual exploitation and eight counts of sexual assault.

All of the cases Dow plead guilty to involved women who were aspiring models who met Dow and then agreed to pose for photos, but he touched them in places like their breasts or thighs without their consent.

In at least two cases court heard, the women said he touched their vaginal area without permission.

In one case, Dow went up to an 19-year-old woman and her mother in a mall, saying he was a police officer.

The 19-year-old agreed to be photographed by Dow and her mother came with her, but on an occasion where she came alone in 2005 Dow squeezed her breast while she posed for him in a bikini.

In another case in 2003, Dow suggested to an 18-year-old girl posing for him that he take nude photos. He then straddled her as she lay on her stomach and massaged her.

Minuk said the girl felt "frozen with fear" by what happened, as well as "helpless."

Another case happened in 2004, after Dow and his daughter met an 18-year-old girl at a local restaurant and he told her he was a photographer.

During a later photo shoot, the girl said Dow told her she could be in magazine. He also rubbed oil all over her body.

By September 2006, police had announced Dow had been placed on paid administrative leave for accusations of sexual assault. He later retired.

Tuesday, Dow was alone in court and stood with his lawyers as he declared himself guilty on each charge.

Minuk told the court he wants to see Dow do jail time, while defence counsel said Dow wants to serve a conditional sentence.

As part of the plea, Dow also said he was also guilty of a charge of simple assault for an incident in 2005.

No sentence has been determined and the next court date is set for August.

Gabrielle.giroday@freepress.mb.ca

 

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