30 years for decades of child sex abuse
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/03/2022 (196 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
In what is believed to be the longest sentence of its kind in Canada, a Winnipeg man convicted of sexually abusing two generations of children from the same family has been ordered to serve 30 years in prison.
“I see no principled reason to reduce the sentence below the 30 years sought by the Crown,” provincial court Judge Cynthia Devine said Thursday.
“The enormity, seriousness and harm caused by the offender to children lives on in Canadian society as these victims try to heal and live different lives… Reducing the sentence in these circumstances would seem arbitrary and untethered to the facts and circumstances of these offences, the offender and Canadian law.”
Alan Aloya Samson, 48, pleaded guilty to nine counts of sexual interference involving nine children, six counts of making child pornography, and one count each of possessing child pornography and theft for offences committed between 1995 and 2020.
“These offences are staggering,” Devine said. “It is clear that these children were subjected to hundreds, if not thousands, of individual sexual violations over several years during their childhoods.”
“These offences are staggering… It is clear that these children were subjected to hundreds, if not thousands, of individual sexual violations over several years during their childhoods.” – Judge Cynthia Devine
The mother of two victims and sister of two more hugged Crown attorney Katie Dojack after Devine delivered Samson’s sentence.
“It’s been a long journey emotionally,” the woman said outside court. “But I’m actually very impressed with how all of the officials involved worked on things. We felt very supported and taken care of.
“If there’s anyone else going through the same, I’d like them to know there is help out there. It takes one step to make it happen.”
The woman said she hopes Samson’s sentence sets the bar for sentencing sex offenders in the future.
“I was prepared for something much lower, only because I didn’t want to build myself up too high,” she said. “I feel (the sentence) was very fair and I would like it to be a foundation for other cases like this.”
The woman and her children now live out of province.
Court previously heard the woman’s daughter disclosed to her in July 2020 that Samson had sexually abused her years earlier, when they were living in Winnipeg. The woman said she then spoke to her teenage son, who confirmed he, too, had been sexually abused by Samson.
“That same day, I learned my brother and my two cousins came forward to reveal they had also been abused by Alan when they were just kids,” the woman told court at a sentencing hearing earlier this year. “To learn about all of this only within a few hours of each other, I have never felt so inadequate as a mother, never so inadequate as a role model for my family.”
“I was prepared for something much lower, only because I didn’t want to build myself up too high… I feel (the sentence) was very fair and I would like it to be a foundation for other cases like this.” – Mother of victims
The woman’s daughter said she came forward thinking she and her brother were Samson’s only victims.
Court heard Samson “normalized” sex acts with his young victims, grooming them with toys in exchange for sexual compliance.
One now-adult victim told court he turned to cocaine to escape the waking nightmare of the abuse he suffered.
Between 1997 and his arrest in September 2020, Samson worked for photography company Lifetouch Canada, processing student photos.
Following Samson’s arrest, police executed a search warrant at his Winnipeg home, uncovering evidence of more victims, pornographic videos of four victims, and approximately 100 photos he stole from Lifetouch.
Court heard Samson used the elementary school photos to masturbate and also as grooming tools, showing them to his young victims and suggesting he was spending time with them, in order to make the children jealous.
Samson lived at his parents’ home in a basement suite where much of the abuse occurred.
“The basement was equipped with everything a young boy could dream of… (Samson) lured the children with toys, unlimited video-game playing in his suite and other fun activities,” Devine wrote in a 37-page decision. “He played them off each other, trying to instill jealousy and competitiveness in them to elicit their co-operation and guarantee their compliance.”
“The basement was equipped with everything a young boy could dream of… (Samson) lured the children with toys, unlimited video-game playing in his suite and other fun activities.” – Judge Cynthia Devine
Samson installed several hidden cameras in the suite, which he used to record himself abusing the children.
At an earlier hearing, Devine initially resisted the Crown’s request she view the seized abuse videos, arguing to do so would only revictimize the victims. She later changed her position, agreeing the “shocking enormity” of the offences could not be “fully appreciated” without viewing the videos.
“In watching these offences on film, it becomes very clear that the acts the children described to police did not occur only once on each occasion they went to the offender’s home,” Devine said. “The offender’s behaviour was incessant, repeated and obsessive.
“He treats the boys as small children treat their dolls and action figures… with the exception that the purpose for which he positioned these children and removed their clothing was nefarious.”
A 2020 decision by the Supreme Court of Canada known as R v Friesen “reset” how courts should deal with child sex offenders, with the high court ruling such sentences should increase as society’s understanding of the great harm inflicted on children deepens.
“The court made it clear that sentences for child sexual offences were too low in the past,” Devine said. “They must increase.”
Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.