Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Former aboriginal youth leader faces risk assessment in sexual assault conviction

  • Print

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.

Fact Check

Fact Check

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.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Your top TV picks for this weekend - Aug 29 - Sept 1

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Canada goose flies towards the sun near the Perimeter Highway North and Main St Monday afternoon – See Day 10 for Bryksa’s 30 goose project - May 11, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A golfer looks for his ball in a water trap at John Blumberg Golf Course Friday afternoon as geese and goslings run for safety- See Joe Bryksa’s 30 day goose challenge- Day 24– June 15, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should panhandling at intersections be banned?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google