Montreal

Man who sexually assaulted his 4-year-old son facing new batch of charges

Police now believe the accused was making and distributing child pornography after his release from prison, during the same period in which the courts allowed continued supervised visits with the son he'd assaulted.

Police believe man was making child porn after release from prison, while allowed supervised visits with son

The 38-year-old manappear in court Thursday for a bail hearing. He is facing several charges, including possession, production and distribution of child pornography, as well as counselling others to commit sex crimes. (Catherine Contant/Radio-Canada)

A Montreal man who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting his four-year-old son in 2015 is now facing several new charges, and police allege the man was making and distributing child pornography during the period in which he was having court-ordered supervised visits with the son he abused.

The 38-year-old man appeared in a Montreal courtroom Thursday. 

The child pornography offences are alleged to have occurred between September 2017 and last month. It was during this period the man was also having supervised court-ordered visits with his two children, including the son he sexually assaulted.

The boy's mother tried to put a stop to the visits, but two different judges refused her request.

None of the parties can be named due to a court-ordered publication ban.

Man showed remorse, judge concludes

The man pleaded guilty in 2016 to sexually assaulting his own son on one occasion in the family home. He told his son to keep the incident a secret.

Court records show the boy's mother learned of the assault when she overheard the boy describing the incident to his friends by demonstrating it on a doll. When she confronted her husband, he admitted to the incident and left the family home. The two have since divorced.

The man was sentenced to 22 months in prison. The trial judge in that case noted the man had expressed remorse, apologized, understood the impact of his behaviour and had taken responsibility for what he had done. 

She concluded the assault had been an isolated incident, and a pre-sentencing psychiatric report concluded the man had a "low to moderate" risk of re-offending.

The man was released in 2017. A youth court judge ordered that once the man had served his sentence, he could have regular short visits with his children, under the supervision of someone designated by youth protection authorities.

Mother tried to stop visits

The visits happened from September 2017 until July 2018, when the mother went to court to try to have the father deprived of his parental rights. She requested a suspension of the visits until a decision on parental rights could be made.

A Superior Court justice refused the mother's request for an immediate halt to the visits, noting that a report from youth protection officials did not indicate "any bad behaviour from the father nor any anxiety or discomfort for the children." 

The mother appealed that decision to the Quebec Court of Appeal, arguing the judge erred in suggesting  the visits were going well.

"The [mother] states that the reports refer on many occasions to the son's agitation, his nervous ticks and discomfort, his refusal to hug his father or maintain eye contact with him or to talk about the incident of sexual abuse," the Appeal Court said in its decision in November 2018.

Despite that argument, the Court of Appeal upheld the initial decision and allowed the visits to continue.

"The situation appears to have improved with time, according to the subsequent reports," Justice Geneviève Marcotte said in the court's ruling.

"They refer to the boy looking 'happy' and expressing it by the end of the meeting, and 'looking great'," Marcotte wrote.

The visits continued.

New child porn charges

Police now believe during that period in which the man was having these supervised visits with his children, he was separately producing and distributing child pornography.

Montreal police arrested the man last week. He's facing several charges, including possession, production and distribution of child pornography, as well as counselling others to commit sex crimes.

The man is also facing an additional new charge of sexual interference with a child.  That charge dates back to between 2013 and 2014, before the man sexually assaulted his son in the incident to which he pleaded guilty.

The man appeared in court Thursday for a bail hearing.

The hearing was postponed until a later date.

 

About the Author

Steve Rukavina is a journalist with CBC Montreal.