Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Prison sought for sex assaults

Ex-worker at home violated boys in care

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BRANDON -- A Crown attorney has asked a judge to impose five years in prison for a former group-home worker who sexually assaulted boys in care.

One of those victims -- now an adult -- was present in court Thursday as sentencing of his former abuser began.

Proceedings were interrupted when the victim had a seizure -- the result of trauma from the abuse and apparently the stress of the court proceedings.

"What you observed this morning occur, sort of the visceral reaction to being in the same room again with the perpetrator, spoke more words than I could possibly ever express," Crown attorney Yaso Mathu told Judge Donovan Dvorak after the man recovered and sentencing resumed in Brandon provincial court on Thursday.

Lionel Norman McCullough, 50, pleaded guilty in December to three counts of sexual assault for offences committed against three victims between September 1984 and August 1988.

At the time, McCullough worked at a Child and Family Services-run group home that housed several children at a time.

The victims had been placed at the home and were between nine and 13 years old. Each boy was sexually assaulted multiple times.

McCullough apologized in court to his victims.

"I'm truly sorry. It's not your fault, you're not to blame, you are not responsible. I am," he said.

Bob Harrison said his client, who has stayed out of trouble for nearly 23 years, is remorseful. During the summer, McCullough had a nervous breakdown and sank into depression.

McCullough pleaded guilty even though he doesn't clearly remember the offences due to electroshock therapy, Harrison said.

Based on sentences in similar cases, Harrison said he didn't oppose the Crown's suggestion for a five-year sentence.

In total, McCullough has spent 183 days in pre-sentence custody, which Harrison asked to be credited toward his client's sentence.

Dvorak reserved his sentencing decision until mid-March.

The crimes came to light in May 2012 when one of the victims reported the past assaults.

Brandon police then obtained CFS records and searched for children who may have had contact with McCullough. They contacted as many people as possible to try to find potential victims and found two more.

McCullough lost his job in August of 1988 when he was charged with sexual assaults on other residents from the home. As a result, in April of 1989, he was sentenced to 18 months in jail and three years of probation for three counts of sexual assault.

 

-- Brandon Sun

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 28, 2014 A10

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