Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Man gets 7 years for sexual assault

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Alone in a strange home with a friend who suddenly and violently turned on her, her thoughts turned from abject fear to how to leave behind a silent, but vital, forensic message to the outside world: I was here.

"I watch Law and Order. I drooled so people would know I had been there. No one knows I was there," she said. "I thought I could trust him."

These were the words rapist Kevin Hunter heard from the confines of a prisoner's dock Thursday as he was confronted in court by what he put his victim through.

Hunter previously pleaded guilty to sexual assault with a weapon for the vicious and prologued assault he inflicted on a 20-year-old woman on Nov. 24, 2011.

He and the victim, casual acquaintances, met up downtown and went to a home to go have a drink.

Hunter proceeded to turn on her, confine her in a room at knifepoint and attacked her for as long as an hour and a half, Justice Donald Bryk was told.

In a detailed impact statement, the victim described the horrors inflicted on her and the lasting emotional impact she feels to this day.

"Half of my face was numb for a week," she wrote. "I tried fighting back."

She was able to get free and sought help from a Winnipeg Transit driver. Hunter was arrested about a week later and has been in custody since.

While in jail, he was rearrested for a separate sexual assault committed on a 27-year-old woman in a Notre Dame Avenue park in August 2011.

The attack was halted when a passerby saw what was happening and threatened to call the police.

DNA swabs police took from the woman's neck matched Hunter's profile, Crown attorney Joanna Kostiuk told court.

"I cannot overstate," Kostiuk said of Hunter's assaults. "The acts were violent and degrading to say the least."

Hunter, 30, has extremely low cognitive functioning and scores in the lowest percentile for IQ.

It's suspected he may have Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, but a diagnosis can't be confirmed because his mother died when he was eight years old.

He witnessed her death, and still can't make sense of whether it was an accident, suicide or a homicide, defence lawyer Eric Wach said.

To this day he's "haunted" by images and visions of his late mother, Wach said.

It's still a mystery to Hunter how he came to attack the women, court heard. "I never knew that I could do this kind of s--t," he told a probation officer.

"I'm sorry for what I did... I can't explain it," he told one victim present in court, in a breaking voice.

Bryk sentenced him to seven years in prison, agreeing with the Crown's position on jail time.

Bryk said he wasn't optimistic about Hunter's prospects for rehabilitation, and was concerned about the sincerity of his stated intention to get help.

In the past, he's refused assistance and treatment, Bryk said.

 

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

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