A 50-year-old Winnipeg man has been found guilty of sexually abusing and secretly videotaping his teenaged stepdaughter.
The accused -- who can't be named to protect the identity of the 17-year-old girl – had pleaded not guilty to several charges including sexual assault, voyeurism and making child pornography. He also took the witness stand, proclaiming his innocence and claiming the girl was lying.
But Queen's Bench Justice Kenneth Hanssen disagreed Wednesday, saying he had no doubt the crimes happened as described by the teen.
The Crown is now expected to seek a lengthy prison term for the man, who has been in custody since his 2010 arrest. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 7.
The young girl testified at trial earlier this month, saying she awoke 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 allegedly discovered numerous email messages her husband of five years had been sending 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 is accused of offering his stepdaughter cash, electronics and even allowing her to skip school and keep it a secret. But he indicates there will 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 cellular phone.
"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 incident to a teacher. She claims to have been 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 remained open and took another turn when police discovered a series of videotapes that contain topless images of the girl.
She apparently had no idea they had been taken on a webcam she claims had been hidden in her bedroom by her stepfather. The man denied putting the camera there or taking the videos.