Manitoba

Ex-Kenora OPP officer gets 10 years prison in U.S. for sexual abuse of girls

A former Kenora OPP officer has been sentenced to 10 years in U.S. federal prison for sexually abusing two children at a Minnesota resort. 

Brady Hillis assaulted girls aged 7 and 9 at Minnesota resort

Former Kenora OPP officer Brady Hillis was sentenced to 10 years in a U.S. prison last week for abusive sexual contact with children at a Minnesota resort. (Sherburne County Sheriff Department )

A former Kenora OPP officer has been sentenced to 10 years in U.S. federal prison for sexually abusing two children at a Minnesota resort. 

Brady John Hillis previously pleaded guilty to two counts of abusive sexual contact with a child under 12. He learned his sentence this week in front of U.S. District Court Judge John R. Tunheim. A charge of aggravated sexual abuse of a child under 12 was dismissed. That charge carried with it a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years. 

Hillis committed the assaults on girls aged seven and nine on June 22, 2018, at the Fortune Bay Resort and Casino on the Bois Forte Indian Reservation, located about 140 kilometres south of International Falls. At the time he was employed as a police officer stationed in Kenora. He has since resigned. 

The girls, who were there vacationing with their parents, were assaulted in the span of about 10 minutes. Hillis assaulted one girl in an arcade and the other shortly after in a resort swimming pool, according to an agreed statement of facts filed in court. 

His actions were captured on surveillance cameras, the statement of facts said. Hillis waived the right to claim he was intoxicated at the time.

In his plea agreement, U.S. prosecutors and Hillis's lawyer asked the court to have the 33-year-old deported after his sentence was imposed. It was not clear from court filings at sentencing whether that request was granted.

The U.S. government has said it would not object to either Hillis or the Canadian government requesting he be transferred back to Canada to serve his sentence if it's made at least two years before it ends. 

Hillis fought extradition from Canada but lost his final legal battle on that front in June 2021. 

Tunheim ordered Hillis to serve 10 years of supervised release after leaving prison and pay $5,000 in restitution. 

'Punishment is not just required, it is deserved,' lawyer tells court 

A letter Hillis wrote to the court, letters of support from friends and family and a pre-sentencing report delving into his background were ordered sealed by the judge until the year 2037. 

Defence lawyer Aaron Morrison told court Hillis "recognizes the harm he has done to innocent people. In no way does he try to shift the blame." 

Morrison had argued for a sentence of six-and-a-half years for Hillis, saying in a court filing Hillis was remorseful, has accepted programming while in jail awaiting his day in court and has been open with family and friends about what he did. 

He's been in counselling "to understand why he betrayed everything he believes in," said Morrison. 

"There is no justification for what Mr. Hillis did in this case," Morrison wrote. "Punishment is not just required, it is deserved.

"Mr. Hillis did a horrible thing [but] he is not a horrible person." 

The supports Hillis has in place will help ensure he doesn't re-offend, the lawyer said.

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