A man who admitted to attacking three young Edmonton girls — two of them inside a school bathroom — is not criminally responsible for his actions, a provincial court judge ruled Wednesday.
The decision by Judge Donna Valgardson came after the court heard from a forensic psychiatrist who diagnosed Jonathan Quinn Lewis, 25, with a severe form of schizophrenia.
Dr. Alberto Choy, who practices at Alberta Hospital, told the court Lewis attacked the girls as part of a mission to keep gangs out of the city.
"He has a strange belief — and there's only fragments of it that we can put together—that in doing some of these actions, he was signaling these gangs, to prevent them from infiltrating the city," Choy told reporters outside the courtroom.
Earlier this month Lewis admitted to an agreed statement of facts in the attacks.
In the first case, in April 2006, he cornered an eight-year-old girl in a bathroom stall in Oliver School, in downtown Edmonton. Lewis grabbed her by the throat, jammed his fingers down her throat and told her to be quiet while he sexually assaulted her.
In January 2007, Lewis snuck into a bathroom at Victoria School of Visual and Performing Arts, just north of the downtown, and cornered another eight-year-old. He clamped his hand over her mouth, but when he removed his hand to pull down his pants, the girl pulled away.
A few hours later Lewis followed a 12-year-old as she got off a bus on her way home from school. He sexually assaulted her just outside the front gate of her house, choking her and telling her she was going to die.
Lewis is being sent back to Alberta Hospital. A hearing will be held in the next 45 days by the province's Mental Health Review Board to determine how long he'll be held.
But Choy said Lewis's condition is very difficult to treat, even with medication.
"Medications have effect on most individuals with this illness," he said. " But the question frequently is to what degree the medication is successful at eradicating all symptoms."