A retired RCMP staff sergeant has been handed a seven-year sentence for sexually molesting three Calgary boys.
Police began investigating Arnold James Somers in 2011, eventually charging him with 14 offences, including sexual assault and sexual interference with a child under 14, for incidents dating back to 2006. On Friday, he was sentenced for assaulting the boys — something the victims' parents say was a deep betrayal.
"The depth of betrayal is absolutely immeasurable," says the mother, who can't be identified in order to protect her sons.
Somers had previously been convicted of sexual offences in Saskatchewan, where he had worked as an RCMP weapons expert.
He abused three brothers over several years in the 1980s and was convicted in 1997.
His crimes landed him in jail for less than two years before he moved to Calgary where he started a new life and found new victims.
Somers worked his way into the community, joining a church group and remarrying.
According to those close to the case, the church knew of his past but welcomed him, even signing-off on some of the the convicted sex offender's court-ordered community service.
'Disturbing denial' of pedophilia 1 factor in sentence
In handing down his sentence Friday, Judge Harry Van Harten cited several aggravating factors in the case:
- Somers was in a position of trust.
- There were several victims and they are all underage.
- Those victims have all shown signs of "significant psychological harm."
- The 71-year-old has also shown "little empathy" for those victims.
- Somers' has a "disturbing denial" of his pedophilia.
The victims' parents say if there's any good to come from this case, it's the hope other children have been saved a similar fate and they urge other families to watch for warning signs.
"The continuing depression, the continuing withdraw, the continuing poor behaviours, skipping school...not wanting to be with the family," the boys mother lists off some of the symptoms she noticed in her sons.
"Trust your kids, listen to them, watch for signs. There were signs"
Somers was badly beaten while in custody at the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatric Centre.
His skull was cracked and he now has permanent injuries, netting him six months of extra credit.
In addition to the time he's already served, Somers has five years left on his sentence.
The victims' father says with this chapter closed, his family will now work on moving on.
"We'll continue to heal. Work with our kids and continue to show them all the love that we can."