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Former Alberta MLA Don MacIntyre told his child victim God approved the sexual abuse

When former United Conservative Party MLA Don MacIntyre sexually touched a child, he told her God approved it, court heard Friday as he pleaded guilty in Red Deer and was sentenced to three years in prison.

Wife stands by MacIntyre but UCP condemns former MLA as 'disgusting' individual

Former MLA Don MacIntyre has pleaded guilty to a charge of sexual interference with a person under the age of 16. (David Dodge/Green Energy Futures)

When Don MacIntyre was molesting his child victim, he justified it by telling her that God had approved the abuse, according to an agreed statement of facts read aloud at the former United Conservative Party MLA's guilty plea on Friday.

MacIntyre, the former MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to sexual interference. A charge of sexual assault has been withdrawn.

After the 63-year-old was escorted off to prison by sheriffs, his victim spoke outside the Red Deer courthouse, telling reporters she is "very happy" with the outcome.

"I don't have to be afraid anymore," said the young woman. "I would have liked more [jail time] of course, but that's just because of how long I felt sad."

Listen to the victim describe what this sentencing means to her and hear her words of encouragement to others in similar situations. 2:07

The victim said that after suffering in silence for so long, she felt relieved to finally be able to tell her story.

"He has been so public for so long that I think it is important for what I have to say to be public as well."

Outside the Red Deer courthouse, Don MacIntyre's victim said she was "very happy with the outcome" of the guilty plea and three-year sentence he received. (Meghan Grant/CBC)

'God was OK with the touching'

An agreed statement of facts detailing the crime was read aloud by prosecutor Julie Snowdon.

The offence dates are between 2010 and 2011 and involve a female child under the age of 14. A publication ban protects any information that could identify MacIntyre's victim.

MacIntyre sexually touched his victim five to 10 times over a one-year period beginning in 2010.

"He told her that God said that God was OK with the touching," reads the agreed statement of facts. 

He told the child he had prayed to God about it. 

Victim speaks

In 2015, the girl told her mother about the abuse. When confronted, MacIntyre immediately confessed but said the sexual abuse was "part of Satan's plan to destroy the child's faith." 

He then wrote apology letters to his victim.

According to the court document, the girl became suicidal.

MacIntyre  resigned his seat last February after charges were laid in connection with offences against a child.

On Friday, standing with family members on each side of her, the victim paused at times through her impact statement to gather herself.

"I did not understand that what had happened to me was wrong," she said.

'His face was everywhere'

Tormented by confusion, pain and "guilt so heavy it hurt my chest," the girl said her memories and the effects of the abuse were "destroying" her childhood.

"I began to think that it was my fault," she said. "It hurt so much."
 
Ahead of the 2015 provincial election, MacIntyre's campaign signs appeared all over his riding.
 
"Everyone had his signs up," she said. "His face was everywhere."
 
Then he won the election. That was the year the girl finally told her mother about the abuse.

'One dark period'

Sexual interference involves touching someone under the age of 16 years of age for a sexual purpose. 

Snowdon had proposed a three- to 3½-year prison term while defence lawyers Ian McKay and Heather Ferg argued for a two-year sentence.

McKay called his client "a very decent man" who had "one dark period." 

"This is a man that in so many ways has been punished already," said McKay, arguing MacIntyre has already "lost pretty much everything" and has been subjected to intense, national media coverage. 

'Odious crime,' says UCP

MacIntyre's wife has stood by him, McKay noted. She even provided a character reference letter of support.

When given the chance to speak, MacIntyre apologized to his victim and wished her a "life that is whole and happy and healthy."

He said that when his sentence is over and he returns home, "the powerful love my wife Maggie and I share shall see us through."

The United Conservative Party Caucus released a statement immediately after MacIntyre's plea.

"We hope this disgusting individual faces the full extent of the law in sentencing for his odious crime," reads the statement.

"Our thoughts remain with the victim and all those affected at this time."

About the Author

Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary reporter

Meghan Grant is the courts and crime reporter for CBC Calgary.