A judge in Windsor, Ont., is deciding how to sentence a woman who repeatedly sexually assaulted her two-year-old son while live-streaming the acts on the internet.
The woman, who is from Lakeshore, Ont., on Lake St. Clair, was facing 12 charges, but pleaded guilty Tuesday to five of them, including sexual assault, making child pornography and possessing child pornography. An earlier charge of bestiality was withdrawn.
The woman's name is banned from publication to protect her child.
After pleading guilty to the charges, the woman sat down in the prisoner's box and continued to stare straight ahead for the remainder of the proceedings.
Crown prosecutor Shelley McGuire described the assaults before the Ontario Court of Justice, giving details at times so disturbing Justice Guy DeMarco became flushed, winced, shook his head and appeared visibly upset.
Man who saw abuse called police
The case came to light in April 2009 when Windsor police, acting on a tip from a local man, arrested the woman at her Lakeshore home.
Court heard how the man had met the woman on the internet a few weeks earlier, and that within minutes of their initial web chat the woman undressed and started masturbating for the man via webcam.
Evidence on the woman's computer, later recovered by the Ontario Provincial Police's e-crime unit in Orillia, revealed images the woman had broadcast to the man on the internet, and in several of them the little boy is seen walking around in the background.
Justice DeMarco heard how in those clips the mother is seen trying to force the toddler to perform sexual acts both on himself and her. In some of the images, the woman involves her pet pit bull terrier in the acts. In others, the little boy is heard using sexually explicit language with his mother. Police also found graphic photographs and video on the woman's cellphone.
Court also heard how police uncovered details of games the woman played with the man, in which she had him sit in a park with a cellphone and describe the children there. The Crown said the woman would then pick one of the children and tell the man how nice it would be for him to bring that child home so the two could have their way with the child.
Defence asks for 18-month sentence
Defence lawyer Robert DiPietro agreed with the accuracy of the Crown's version of events, and is asking Justice DeMarco to sentence the woman to 18 months in an Ontario jail, rather than a federal penitentiary, followed by three years probation.
"A penitentiary term is a term in a penitentiary that would be over a two-year sentence, and [the judge] wouldn't be able to attach any probation to it," DiPietro told CBC News. A probation order would contain conditions that would ensure the woman remain under the care of a psychiatrist, he said.
Crown prosecutor McGuire agreed with the suggested sentence.
The woman has been incarcerated since her arrest nine months ago. DiPietro told reporters that because of the woman's crimes she would likely never see her child again.
Justice DeMarco said he would take until Friday to consider the joint proposal for sentencing in light of the details of the case.
In mid-January, the Ontario Court of Appeal sentenced a father who sexually abused his daughter to seven years in prison.