One Ottawa Boy’s Hell: father and step-mother found guilty

I previously wrote about a horrific case of child abuse in Canada. The judge in the case found a RCMP officer and his wife guilty of multiple counts of child abuse in one of Canada’s worst child abuse cases:

A Mountie and his wife have been found guilty of what Ottawa police sources have called the “worst case of abuse” the force has seen, involving the Mountie’s then 11-year-old son.

The RCMP officer — who is suspended from the force without pay — was arrested in February 2013 along with his wife.

They had both pleaded not guilty to charges including aggravated assault, failing to provide the necessaries of life and forcible confinement. She faced an additional charge of assault with a weapon, and he faced additional charges of sexual assault causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon.

On Monday, the 45-year-old Mountie was found guilty of aggravated assault, sexual assault causing bodily harm, forcible confinement and failing to provide the necessaries of life.

The boy’s 38-year-old stepmother was found guilty of assault with a weapon and failing to provide the necessaries of life.

The pair cannot be named due to a publication ban that protects the boy’s identity. He is now 14 years old.

The verdict comes as no surprise given the evidence against the pair, particularly that both the father and step-mother admitted to the abuse and the father having recorded the abuse on his cell phone. The father’s defense for his violence against his son was to claim the boy was possessed. During the trial, the father claimed to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder caused by growing up in Lebanon:

The father took the stand in his own defence earlier this year, testifying he was afraid his son would stab him in the heart as he slept. He said he also feared the “out-of-control” boy would rape his wife and beat his other children. “I was 100 per cent convinced of this,” he said.

“I was living with the devil at home,” the 44-year-old Mountie, who is now suspended without pay, told the court in April. […] “I didn’t care for anybody’s feelings except my own … the pain he was putting me in … I was in pain and fear the whole time,” said the father, who was mounting a PTSD defence that he didn’t know his actions were wrong or have the mental capacity to form the intent needed for a crime.

Yes, of course. A former police officer would have no idea that chaining a child to a pole in a basement, beating him, burning him, and starving him were wrong. This former officer would somehow have the mental capacity to decide to do these things, understand them enough to repeat them, realize that it would look bad if anyone saw him doing it and so hide the abuse from the public, but lack the capacity to form intent. And of course, being so mentality deficient, the former police officer would understand the concept of criminal intent enough to know that he could not form it.

That defense sounds utterly ridiculous, and is made all the most idiotic by the father’s recording of the abuse sessions:

Last fall, the court was shown several videos from 2013, seized from the Mountie’s phone, of the boy naked, crying and restrained in the basement of his family’s home.

The videos, made one month before the couple was arrested in February 2013, show the small boy breathing heavily and looking gaunt with his ribs sticking out. A man is heard repeatedly taunting and humiliating the boy, who was tied to the basement wall.

Onlookers inside the courtroom were seen wiping away tears and the last video left Maranger shielding his face.

“This was a very difficult trial. That a parent could do the things that were done to [the victim] was gut-wrenching,” Maranger said on Monday in his decision.

It is made all the worse considering that the father’s wife knew about the abuse and did nothing. According to reports, she even went on maternity leave during the period of abuse. She was present and could have prevented it, yet did nothing. She did express remorse, however, once she was arrested.

Fortunately the judge did not buy either of their defenses and convicted them. \

Now comes the issue of sentencing. It is doubtful the wife will face any real jail time. This is Canada, and the government has a habit of not punishing abusive women or those who enable abusers.The father may face a stiff sentence. None of the articles I read specified the amount of time the pair face, and it is unclear whether the multiple charges would result in consecutive or concurrent sentences.

I do hope that they receive the maximum sentence allowed. The severity of the abuse warrants a meaningful sentence. I do not think a handful of years in jail would be fair for the amount of cruelty they committed against this boy. That said, if the boy does not want a harsh sentence, I do think the judge should take that into account. This is one of those instances in which the victim has shown more compassion than was ever shown him. If he does not want them to be jailed for a long time, that should be a factor, although I think anything less than ten years in both cases would be a travesty of justice.

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