Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Ex-administrator gets prison for sex assaults on two boys

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A longtime Manitoba civil servant is headed to prison after admitting to sex abuse that only recently came to light.

Melvin Schroeder pleaded guilty to repeatedly molesting two young boys over several years, beginning in 1986. The victims, who were known to him, didn't report the incidents to police until 2011.

Schroeder, 62, served for years as the finance and administration manager for the RM of Hanover before retiring shortly before his arrest.

"I have nobody else to blame for my actions other than myself," Schroeder said Monday while addressing the two victims in court.

Provincial court Judge Tim Killeen sentenced Schroeder to four years and four months behind bars after hearing the facts of the crimes. The Crown had been seeking a six-year term and defence lawyer John Corona asked for two years.

"Preying on children in this fashion is something none of us can tolerate," Killeen said in handing down his decision.

Schroeder admits to numerous sexual assaults on the boys in separate incidents. The first began occurring around 1986 when one boy, then about 12 years old, would come over to his residence to do yardwork and watch movies. The second started around 1990 and involved similar acts on the victim, who was also about 12.

Schroeder, who is married with children, repeatedly fondled the boys and tried to engage them in various sexual acts, court was told.

Both men gave emotional victim-impact statements Monday in which they spoke of how the abuse has affected their lives.

"The pain and suffering that you've caused me and my family is beyond words," said one of the victims. "For years, I put all of my pain and hatred in the back of my mind and used everything I could to forget what you did to me."

But both men also expressed forgiveness for Schroeder, a gesture the accused called "mind-boggling and humbling."

Schroeder has no prior criminal record and was an otherwise upstanding member of the community, his lawyer told court. Schroeder's family continues to support him, as do many residents of the area who are now aware of what happened.

"Nobody would have ever suspected or dreamed he would be convicted of these types of offences," Corona said. He tried to get the judge to impose a publication ban on his client's name, a request Killeen denied.

"He's had his reputation completely destroyed," Corona said.

As part of his sentence, Schroeder will be placed on the national sex-offender registry for the next 10 years and will be subject to conditions upon his release from prison, including having no unsupervised contact with children under the age of 16.

www.mikeoncrime.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 25, 2014 A4

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