Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Teen admits he took tot, but sex charges stayed

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PROSECUTORS have abandoned sex-related charges against a Winnipeg teen who inexplicably abducted a little girl from a West End home.

The youth pleaded guilty in provincial court Monday to a child-abduction charge and will be sentenced at a later date.

The Crown stayed charges of sexual assault and sexual interference after the youth admitted responsibility for the Sept. 30, 2012, early-morning abduction of the four-year-old from a Toronto Street apartment.

Court heard the girl's mother and a handful of relatives were drinking and socializing while the girl watched TV in another room.

The offender, then 15, came over around 11 p.m. and witnesses said he was drunk on arrival, Judge Sid Lerner was told.

Around 1 a.m., the youth signalled he was going to the washroom and was asked to bring beers from the refrigerator when he returned.

Instead, he took the girl under his arm and left the apartment. When he didn't return right away, the child's mother went to see where he was and noticed the girl was gone.

A neighbour saw the boy with the child and trying to get in a nearby house and stepped in to grab him while police were called.

The teen passed out in the meantime, Crown attorney Nicole Roch said. He thought the home he was trying to get into belonged to a friend he believed was simply not letting him in, Roch said he told police.

The girl revealed no concerns, Roch said. "The man asked me if I wanted to go to the park," she told investigators. No clear motive for the teen's actions was disclosed.

Given his intoxication, he has only a "fuzzy recall" of the events, court was told, and can't remember what prompted him to leave the apartment with the child. He has been in custody since January due to drinking- and curfew-related breaches of his bail conditions.

He had no prior record, and Roch and defence lawyer Darren Sawchuk agreed he won't have to serve more jail time. Lerner ordered the youth released pending sentencing.

The boy voluntarily entered the care of Child and Family Services after being jailed, and the hope is with the agency's help, he'll return to school and make positive changes in his life.

His bail conditions include a nightly curfew and no contact with children under age 12 unless supervised by a sober adult.

It is expected he will live in a CFS emergency hotel shelter at first while a more permanent foster placement is found.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 17, 2013 A4


Updated on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 10:00 AM CDT: Clarifies the teen thought the home he was trying to get into belonged to a friend he believed was simply not letting him in.

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