RICHARD Dow put a lot of criminals behind bars during his 19 years as a Winnipeg police officer.
He may soon be seeing some familiar faces after being sentenced for sexually assaulting 11 young women, whom he persuaded to model for his off-duty photography business.
Dow, 58, hung his head Thursday after learning his bid to remain free in the community had been rejected. Queen's Bench Justice Chris Martin ordered Dow to spend 16 months in jail for what he called "humiliating and demeaning" acts.
"Operating under low moral standards, he took advantage of perceived opportunities with some of his clients but not others. His perception was warped and it was wrong to do so," Martin said in a 24-page decision. "Society is entitled to expect more from guardians of justice."
The Crown sought a much stronger penalty of five years in prison, which Martin called an "exceedingly harsh sentence, indeed possibly vengeful."
Dow has been free on bail since shortly after his arrest but left court Thursday in handcuffs. Both Crown and defence lawyers have 30 days to decide whether they wish to appeal.
All of the crimes occurred between 2001 and 2005. Dow took advantage of aspiring models in their late teens and early 20s, who agreed to pose for photos but were then groped and fondled during the photo shoots.
Dow was placed on administrative leave from the police service following his arrest in 2006. He later retired.
In one case, Dow approached a 19-year-old woman and her mother in a mall, saying he was a police officer and arranged for a meeting in which he molested her. In another case in 2003, Dow suggested nude photos to an 18-year-old woman posing for him and then straddled her as she lay on her stomach and massaged her. In 2004, Dow and his daughter met another 18-year-old woman at a restaurant and told her he was a photographer. During a later photo shoot, the girl said, Dow told her she could be in a magazine and rubbed oil over her body.
A forensic report paints Dow as a low risk to reoffend. Martin said Thursday Dow has clearly suffered public shame as the result of media coverage of his case, in addition to losing his jobs as both a police officer and fashion photographer.
The Crown stayed similar charges involving seven other complainants, and Dow was found not guilty earlier this year of an additional charge of sexual assault. In that case, a young model claimed she was raped by Dow. He told jurors the sex was consensual, which they accepted.