Manitoba

Teen who attacked two Winnipeg women has very low IQ, FASD: psychologist

A man who pleaded guilty in two high-profile sex attacks, including one that left a victim near death along the shores of a frigid Winnipeg river, suffers from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and reads at a Grade 3 level, a court was told Monday.

Accused pleaded guilty earlier this year to two counts of aggravated sexual assault

A teenage girl was left for dead on the banks of Winnipeg's Assiniboine River under the Midtown Bridge in an attack that happened in November 2014. (CBC)

A man who pleaded guilty in two high-profile sex attacks, including one that left a victim near death along the shores of a frigid Winnipeg river, suffers from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and reads at a Grade 3 level, a court was told Monday.

The man, who cannot be named because he was 17 at the time of the attacks in 2014, also suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder due to sexual abuse he suffered as a child, reads a forensic psychology report entered into evidence.

Testing showed the man's "full-scale IQ value falling below 70 — considered within an 'extremely low' range," the report states.

The man pleaded guilty earlier this year to two counts of aggravated sexual assault. The Crown wants the man sentenced as an adult, and a four-day hearing on the issue started Monday.

A co-accused, Justin Hudson, 22, has also pleaded guilty to the same charges.

The two men happened upon a 16-year-old girl on the night of Nov. 7. They robbed her, repeatedly beat her, sexually assaulted her and stomped on her head.

She ended up in the Assiniboine River, crawled out 100 metres away before being attacked again with a hammer.

The girl was found by a passerby the next morning and later became an advocate for an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women, however she can't be named under a publication ban.

Hours after the first attack, the two co-accused came across a 23-year-old woman. She was also sexually assaulted and severely beaten, and spent three days in hospital with a concussion and severe facial injuries.

The younger co-accused told the psychologist he took part in the attacks because he was afraid his companion would attack him if he refused.

"From his viewpoint, (he) perceived a sense of 'pressure' to participate in the sexual assaultive behaviour ... that likely in part reflects a vulnerability that FASD-affected individuals have toward negative peer influence," the report states.

If he is sentenced as a youth, the man faces a maximum three-year sentence. As an adult, he could potentially face life in prison.

The psychologist noted the younger man has expressed remorse and guilt for the attacks, but remains a moderate-to-high risk to reoffend.

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