Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Victims of 'monster' speak out

Tears in court as daughters recount years of sex abuse

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They suffered seven years of horror at the hands of their father.

Now, two young Winnipeg woman have come forward to describe how they survived what police and justice officials are calling one of the worst child sex-abuse cases they've ever seen.

"I don't want anybody to feel sorry for me. Ever," the oldest of the two sisters told court Monday in a videotaped statement that had members of the public gallery in tears.

The 49-year-old father has admitted to confining, raping and torturing his daughters from 2002 to 2009, when they were between nine and 16. He also photographed and videotaped much of the acts. Some of the clips have been played in court.

The father pleaded guilty to 11 charges last fall, and a two-week sentencing hearing is underway in which the Crown is seeking a dangerous-offender designation.

His name can't be published to protect the identity of the victims.

If successful, he would be given the most severe sanction available in Canada: an indefinite prison term with little chance of being released.

"The highest betrayal is that he made me love him. I love him. It's wrong. I don't think that's something I'll ever be able to understand," the woman, now 22, said in her hour-long statement Monday.

She referred to her father as her "best friend" and admitted she still doesn't blame him for what he did.

'The highest betrayal is that he made me love him. I love him. It's wrong'

"If I had to do it all over again, I don't know if I'd take this part of my life away," she said. "I know I should blame him, but emotionally I can't blame him. He was the only person who really knew me. Somewhere in this mess of a person I know it's made me strong."

Most of what happened to the girls is too graphic to publish.

Police raided the father's Ness Avenue apartment in September 2011 and seized computer equipment containing 2,609 photos showing the man raping his children.

"What the (expletive) is wrong with you?" Det. Derek Charison of the Winnipeg Police Service asked the father during a lengthy interrogation.

"We're not going to leave any of this out (in court) because we're going to paint the picture of the monster that you are. Who does this to their own kids? A coward. That's who does it, a coward."

An additional 125,000 images of child pornography were also seized showing unknown children, including babies, being sexually abused.

Police also seized sex toys he used on the victims, lingerie he made them wear and 48 graphic stories about incest he'd downloaded.

The investigation began when the oldest daughter broke her silence and walked into a police station two years ago with a shocking story that was quickly confirmed by the evidence. She had disclosed the abuse to her boyfriend the previous night.

Her sister, now 20, spoke to police days later. Unlike the older sister, she admits to "hating" her father.

"I don't want him to come near me again," the younger victim told court Monday in her statement.

She spent much of the 40 minutes shaking, rocking back and forth and crying hysterically with her head buried between her knees.

"Do you ever feel free or at peace?" one of the officers in the video asked her.

"No," she sobbed.

Officers suggested she might benefit from counselling and therapy.

"I don't trust therapists. I don't trust them at all. I don't want to go," she snapped.

The officers repeatedly assure her what was done to her "is absolutely not your fault."

The Crown has explained how both sisters typically spent much of their childhood summers with the accused, who had separated from their mother.

He used a points system for the pair in which he assigned certain values to various sexual acts they'd perform, outfits they'd wear or toys they'd use. He would reward them with gifts once they hit certain goals.

Police seized documents containing the list and some of the videos included the girls holding up signs saying "this is for points."

The two girls often begged their father to stop, even writing him letters when they were in their early teens.

Police seized copies, which were presented to the court.

In her statement Monday, the oldest victim told court she still blames herself.

"There's so many things I could have done differently. I had so many opportunities to speak up, but didn't. Now that I have, I am glad I did," she said.

The woman also described still being haunted by what happened to her and unable to trust anyone.

"I have dreams of being tied down, of being restrained to a bed. In my dreams I'm feeling the way I was feeling when it happened. I wake up sweaty and terrified," she said.

"I just have to move forward. I know eventually I'll have to deal with the anger, too. But I'm not very good at it."

www.mikeoncrime.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 26, 2013 A3

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