Grave. Serious. Vulgar. Horrific.
Those are just a few of the terms used by a judge to describe a random attack that saw a troubled Winnipeg teen break into a Fort Richmond home, confront the young female resident and then brutally sexually assault her as she pleaded for mercy.
On Wednesday, Judge Ray Wyant decided an adult sentence was needed for the youth to reflect the brutality of the crime. He concluded provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act are not sufficient to properly condemn what happened and protect society from the accused.
It was a remarkable sentencing process, one which isn't done yet. Lawyers will return to court later this year to make final submissions on their proposed length of what will now be a penitentiary sentence. The Crown wants a double-digit term, which may represent the longest sentence ever given to a Manitoba youth for a non-homicide.
This sentencing actually began last fall and continued sporadically over the past nine months as Wyant requested more and more information and Crown and defence lawyers provided further reports and evidence.
Much of it was designed to learn what made this young man tick.
We learned plenty about him: how he lived, as Wyant put it, a "lifestyle of anti-social values and attitudes"; how he has admitted gang ties, severe alcohol and drug issues, lives with attention deficit disorder and, likely, fetal alcohol syndrome; how he went through a traumatic childhood which included being made a permanent CFS ward as a child and placed in foster care; and how he continues to raise hell even while behind bars.
None of this, of course, is designed to make anyone forgive or forget the terrible crime he committed. It was savage and senseless, and he must be punished severely.
But attempting to gain a better understanding of the root causes of his abhorrent behavior is important to finding a potential treatment plan that will, hopefully, reduce his risk to society for the eventual day when he is released from custody.
It is far too easy to simply say this young man is "pure evil" and think nothing more of it. I'd like to think everyone is born with a fighting chance in life, but many — either through their own actions, the actions of others or a combination of both — eventually find themselves down for the count.
And so I share with you a very revealing email I've just received from a woman who knows this offender well — who had a front-row seat to his upbringing and shares some very alarming details about what she observed.
The only editing done to her note is to remove the name of the accused, as that can't be made public until his adult sentence is formally imposed.
"It's difficult to find the right adjectives to describe this brutal attack," says Judge Ray Wyant. What he should have said was "Its difficult to find the right adjectives to describe the way this child was brought into this world and raised"
(The accused) lived across the street from me. I got to know him and sympathized with him as he has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. He was in a foster home. In all the years he was there, not once did I ever see any of the foster family play ball, go for walks, or interact in any way with any of the children she had. When it came time for family gatherings, (the accused and three foster siblings) were sent out for respite. Boy, did they feel wanted or loved? Never. So lets ask the Judge, how in the hell is he supposed to feel? Humans destroyed him before he was born. There is no help for kids like him. You cannot possibly think that any program was going to help him. It would be like buying a bag of apples and finding one bad one in the bag and putting it on your counter and think its going to be OK, well news flash, it will just become more rotten. Its hopeless. He did make lots of money for the government though. Lots of useless programs employ lots of useless people who in turn pay taxes.
Was it his fault? Nope, was it his parents fault? Nope. Was it gramma and grampas fault, possibly. They should have shot the people who took gramma and grampa away and sent them to residential schools. Yup, that’s where it all started. The natives were jailed if they tried to raise their kids other than the white man way. It was something the Indians knew nothing about and the way they were raising them was fine.
After so many of them were murdered, raped, secluded, beaten, of course would you not turn to alcohol? They had their identities stolen, the same way my mother did. She was a lousy mother, but it was not till now that I understand why. Finding my relatives including my mothers brothers, they told me horror stories of what happened to my mom and my aunt in the residential schools not to mention what happened to them. They would sodomize the boys. Pretty sad eh? This is what the government ordered.
Now we have to live with the consequences. (The accused) paid dearly for being born. As did his brothers and sisters who are all FAS. They will pay for what happened to their families. They say he showed no remorse, would you if this happened to your family? I would like to ask Wyant that question. I most certainly do not condone what (the accused) did in any way, my feelings go out to the lady. But with what the government did to (the accused's) family? Judge Wyant should know what goes around comes around and now the off spring of the residential school survivors, if you want to call them survivors, is here.
Yes I had (the accused) in my home many times. Actually he was here that same year. Waiting for his foster mother to come home and let him in. I always told him he could wait at my house. He was always polite to me, he talked, little but we had conversations. My son felt sorry for him as well, and (the accused) would always visit with him and watch him when he was rebuilding a motor or whatever in the garage. Something no one ever did with him. He was an outcast in school, bullied, only the bad kids would hand out with him. That’s how he got into drugs.
Mike, although I believe (the accused) would never be better, no one showed that kid love at all. He was a wage for the lady across the street. That’s all. Sad Eh? All the kids she had ended up in jail. (The foster mother) was pregnant at 13, kept the baby, then gave it up for adoption, and had another boy and kept him.
These FAS children are doomed. There is no way to heal them. Its so unfortunate. The people who created his family situation should be hung. But I am guessing by now they died thinking they did the right thing with the residential schools. So now the government is paying dearly for their mistakes. They will be paying for many many years to come."