Ex-police officer jailed on sex charges

Former Winnipeg police officer Richard Dow has been sentenced to 18 months on 11 counts of sexual assault.

Richard Dow ran a Winnipeg modelling agency as a side business

Former Winnipeg police officer Richard Dow is sentenced to 18 months in jail for sexually assaulting a number of young women during photo shoots at his modelling business. 2:05

Former Winnipeg police officer Richard Dow has been sentenced to 18 months on 11 counts of sexual assault.

However, he will be given credit for two months already served behind bars, leaving him with 16 more. 

The 58-year-old Dow was sentenced Thursday at the Winnipeg courthouse.

Sentence anger

An expert on gender studies at the University of Winnipeg is outraged by the sentence for Richard Dow.

Fiona Green says 16 months is nothing compared with what his victims have had to go through. She's frustrated over what she says is a lack of recognition of what sexual assault can do to victims.

"It is tiring, but it's enraging as well because nothing much is changing."

The courts need to recognize the seriousness of the offences, she said.

The Crown was seeking a prison term, while the defence wanted a conditional sentence.

Justice Chris Martin said he believes Dow ran a legitimate business but that he took advantage of some opportunities during his photo shoots.

Martin added he doesn't believe Dow was in a position of authority over the victims and that none of the sex assaults involved violence or threats of violence. As such, he believes Dow is a low risk to reoffend.

However, a conditional sentence would not properly condemn Dow’s behaviour and society is entitled to expect more from guardians of justice, Martin said.

Dow was emotionless throughout the sentencing hearing and only one of his victims was in court. After the sentence came down, she walked out.

Dow's lawyer Crystal Antila said 16 months is much longer than the conditional sentence she was asking for, but it is better than what the Crown wanted.

"Of course, we're grateful that the judge did see fit to agree with us that a five-year sentence was certainly harsh and excessive in the circumstances," she said.

Because Dow is a police officer, he will have to be segregated in prison, she noted. He will also be placed on a sexual offender registry and have to submit a DNA sample for the federal databank.

Modelling agency side business

In May, Dow pleaded guilty in May to the sexual assault charges as well as one count of simple assault. Thirteen other charges against him were stayed.

The charges date back to a five-year period between 2000 and 2005, while Dow was running the Ricoco International modelling agency as a side business.

Sentence breakdown

Justice Chris Martin broke down the sentence by each specific offence.
  • 15 days in prison for the assault
  • 30 days for each count of touching a breast
  • 45 days for each count of touching buttocks
  • 60 days for each count of touching genitals

**Martin doubled the number of days if the victim was under 18.

Court heard in May that almost all of the sexual assaults took place at photo shoots and involved young women between the ages of 17 and 23 years old.

The assaults involved inappropriate and unwanted sexual touching, court heard.

In one case, Dow told the mother of one young woman that he could be trusted because he was a police officer, court was told.

In April, in a separate trial, a jury found Dow not guilty to sexually assaulting a female modelling client during a photo shoot at his home in 2000.

Dow retired from the Winnipeg Police Service in 2007, following an 18-year career.