Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sexual Assault Punished by House Arrest in Canada

The Canadian justice system often shows more compassion towards the criminals than towards their victims. Several years ago, a man in Montreal was given a sentence of less than 3 years for murdering his former wife out of jealousy. Apparently, his jealousy (to which he obviously had no more right) was seen as a mitigating factor. The idea that my former husband can murder me and then serve less than 3 years was quite disconcerting to me while I lived in Montreal.

Now, there is a similarly egregious case in Sydney, Nova Scotia. A man convicted of multiple counts of sexual assault is sentenced to. . . house arrest:
Two women who were sexually assaulted say they would have kept it a secret if they had known their abuser would be sentenced to only house arrest. Kevin Gerard Pettipas, 52, was sentenced Monday in a courtroom in Sydney, N.S. He was also handed 10 months probation. One of the victims says she was about 12 years old when Pettipas began to give her liquor and touched her breasts. "It would have been easier to just not go through this," said the woman, now 19, who cannot be identified under a publication ban. She blames her alcoholism on Pettipas. "It's not fair because I am a child and all my friends think I'm cool because I drink. And he just preyed upon that and took total advantage and my life was destroyed because of that," she said. Pettipas was charged in October 2008 after the woman and three others came forward. He pleaded guilty last fall to two counts of sexual assault involving two of the women. The other sex-related charges were dropped. The defence recommended a sentence of six to nine months of house arrest, arguing that the assaults involved touching only. The Crown sought a sentence of 12 to 18 months. Judge David Ryan said what happened to the victims was terrible and unjustified. "It was not your fault," he told them. But Ryan noted that Pettipas is a first-time offender. He also said no one else has come forward. As part of his sentence, Pettipas is allowed out of his home to work at his local business from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
I don't know what the point of such policies is other than to ensure that victims of sexual assault do not come forward at all. Why would anybody want to put themselves through the trauma of a trial only to see the criminal escape without any meaningful punishment?

Thank you, Patrick, for telling me about this!

1 comment:

David said...

That sentence is a disgrace.

"Touching only"? As if that matters.