A 50-year-old Winnipeg man will not spend another day behind bars for sexually abusing and secretly videotaping his teenage stepdaughter.
The accused -- who can’t be named to protect the identity of the 17-year-old girl -- was found guilty last month of several charges including sexual assault, voyeurism and making child pornography. He returned to court Monday where Queen’s Bench Justice Kenneth Hanssen gave him a three-year sentence.
However, the man has already served two years of pre-trial custody, which pre-dated federal legislation outlawing enhanced credit.
As a result, Hanssen gave him one-and-a-half times credit, bringing his sentence to three years, at least on paper.
He walked out of court a free man Monday, although he will be under three years of supervised probation and placed on the national sex-offender registry.
During the trial, the man testified he was innocent and claimed the girl was lying. But Hanssen disagreed, saying he had no doubt the crimes happened as the teenager described.
She described waking up to find the accused in her bedroom molesting her.
"He saw my reaction and said he was sorry," she testified.
It was around that time the girl’s mother discovered numerous email messages her husband of five years had sent to her daughter. She went to court and obtained a restraining order against the man, filing copies of the emails with the courts. She also filed for divorce.
In the emails, the man offered his stepdaughter cash, electronics and even allowed her to skip school and keep it a secret. But he indicated there would be a price.
"You know that your mom will be mad at you skipping school and you keep asking me to do things for you, I don’t ask anything in return but this time I think that you owe me for doing this for you! If you agree to my terms I will continue to keep your secrets. My term is this you will agree to do what I ask of you with no questions," he wrote in an April 2009 email.
In May 2009, the girl received an email stating: "I want that we can spend some quality time together and I would like to see you the way your mom does."
Further emails included invitations for the girl to spend time with him in exchange for money, an iPod and a cellphone.
"Would you like me to give you $300 tomorrow? All you have to do is one simple thing and I will give you the money in cash. All you have to do is come into the room. Let me know you got this email and say yes," reads an August 2009 email.
Winnipeg police began investigating in early 2010 after the teen disclosed the sexual assault to a teacher. She said she was afraid to tell anyone what happened, fearing she and her mother, who are immigrants, would be deported.
They were sponsored by the accused following a 2005 marriage.
Police arrested the man and initially charged him with sexual assault and sexual interference.
The investigation took another turn when police discovered videotapes that contain topless images of the girl. She said she had no idea they had been taken on a webcam she said was hidden in her bedroom by her stepfather. The man denied putting the camera there or taking the videos.