In a written judgment issued this morning, Nunavut Court Justice Bonnie Tulloch says she “has no difficulty in declaring Simeonie Issigaitok a dangerous offender.”
With that in mind, Tulloch sentenced the 60-year-old Hall Beach man to two years in prison followed by a six-year ban from returning to Igloolik or Hall Beach.
At a sentencing hearing earlier this week, both the Crown and defence lawyers agreed that Issigaitok met the criteria for dangerous offender status, and so did Tulloch.
“Simeonie Issigaitok has, by his conduct, shown a failure to control his sexual impulses,” she wrote. “Further, in the future he is likely to show a similar failure and, if so, is likely to cause injury, pain, or other evil to others he may come into contact with.”
However, Tulloch also found that Issigaitok’s offences were crimes of opportunity, and that “adequate protection of the public and a reasonable possibility of eventual control of risk in the community is possible” if some of those opportunities are curtailed.
Issigaitok pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual interference involving two young boys in relation to incidents that occurred in the community in November 2011.
It was the latest in a string of child sexual abuse offences. Issigaitok’s criminal record includes 20 convictions for sexual offences involving children between the ages of 6 and 13 in his home communities of Hall Beach and Igloolik. For these crimes, he received a three year federal penitentiary sentence in 1997 and two years in 2006.
An emotional Issigaitok spoke at the sentencing hearing. He said that if he still has a chance to return to his community, he wants to teach others that what he did was wrong.
Declaring a person a 'dangerous offender' gives the judge the right to impose an indeterminate prison sentence. In this case, Tulloch agreed with the Crown and defence lawyers to impose a two-year sentence followed by a long-term supervision order.
The six-year supervision order stipulates that Issigaitok cannot return to Igloolik or Hall Beach, must take sexual counselling programs that are available and must reside only where approved by Corrections Canada.
In making her decision, Tulloch considered Issigaitok’s past, as required in sentencing any aboriginal offender. Age was also a factor.
Issigaitok was born into a traditional lifestyle at an outpost camp outside of Igloolik. The court heard he was sexually assaulted by teachers in Igloolik, later at residential school in Chesterfield Inlet, and again at age 16 by a co-worker at the DEW Line site in Hall Beach.
In court, he said that "he was scared and sad and that he felt like crying" and that he “yearns to live a normal, healthy life.”
The judge told Issigaitok that he has scarred children for life and robbed them of their childhood.