Nfld. & Labrador

Brutal attack led to conviction of man who impregnated 12-year-old stepdaughter twice

The vicious attack of a 13-year-old girl and her mother led to the imprisonment of a man who repeatedly sexually abused his stepdaughter in Newfoundland.

Assaults continued and spread to other victims after family left Newfoundland

A Child and Youth Advocate report outlines how a 12-year-old girl's stepfather brought her to hospital for an abortion in Newfoundland. After the procedure the sexual abuse continued and resulted in a second abortion.

The vicious attack of a 13-year-old girl and her mother in Manitoba ultimately led to the imprisonment of a man who repeatedly sexually abused his stepdaughter in Newfoundland. 

The tragic details of what happened to his stepdaughter were outlined in a report released by Newfoundland and Labrador's Child and Youth Advocate on Aug 23. Details of the violent attack of another child and her mother are outlined in court documents from Manitoba.

He told her he would marry her and she would have his babies.- Manitoba Court document

The documents shed more light on what happened when the family lived in Newfoundland and later in central Canada.

In 2011, the 12-year-old girl was brought to an Eastern Health facility for an abortion.

The pregnancy was the result of repeated sexual assaults by the girl's stepfather that started just before the child was in Grade 6. According to the Manitoba court, the man told his stepdaughter he would marry her and she would have his babies. He took no precaution to avoid pregnancy.

The family lived in Newfoundland for five months, though the 12-year-old's mother was not with her. The Manitoba court was told the marriage to the girl's stepfather "broke down in 2007, and by 2008 the mother was a full-blown crack/cocaine addict. She was incapable of raising the children."

The 12-year-old was released back into the custody of her abuser after she received an abortion at Eastern Health, and was not screened for abuse, or given counselling.  

Jacqueline Lake Kavanagh, the province's child and youth advocate, speaks to reporters following the release of her investigative report. (John Pike/CBC)

The Child Advocate details how the girl and her siblings were failed by health care and social service professionals. And how the family eventually left the province before authorities could investigate allegations against the stepfather. 

An Aug. 28, 2015 judgement from Manitoba's Court of Queen's Bench outlines what happened next.

The 12-year-old, her siblings and the stepfather relocated to that province after leaving eastern Canada. 

That's where the sexual abuse continued and, within a year, the girl was pregnant again.

The stepfather arranged a second abortion in Winnipeg where, as was the case in Newfoundland, a false claim was made that a teenaged boyfriend was the father. After this second abortion, the man continued to sexually assault his stepdaughter — sometimes five to six times a week, according to court documents.

More victims

The abuse spread to other victims when, in 2012, the man used a pry bar to break into the home of his stepdaughter's 13-year-old friend. He wore gloves and a hoodie at the time of the incident.

The stepfather conceded that he broke into the home intending to sexually assault the 13-year-old.- Manitoba court document

Evidence presented in court said when the girl recognized the man, he threatened to kill her, and ordered her to go to bed. When she screamed, her mother tried to help. 

The man then violently attacked the mother and her 13-year-old daughter using the metal pry bar. Both were left badly bleeding with broken bones. He fled but was arrested shortly after the attack.

In court, the stepfather conceded that he broke into the home with the intention of sexually assaulting the 13-year-old friend of his stepdaughter.

Court was told the stepdaughter was "so traumatized and conditioned to the years of abuse that it took a better part of the next year before she could reveal what he had done to her." 
Details revealed in court documents show the man was 30 when the abuse began and, while his childhood 'was not envious,' he had no prior criminal record. (John Pike/CBC)

The man was convicted of sexual assault causing bodily harm as well as sexual assault against his stepdaughter. He was also convicted of break and enter with the intent to commit an offence and aggravated assault in the case of the 13-year-old friend and her mother.

He was sentenced to 16 years in prison. 

Abuser's background

The man, who was 30 when he began abusing his stepdaughter, had no prior criminal record.

His parents separated when he was three as a result of his father's alcohol abuse and domestic violence. Following that, the two reportedly had no contact.

The boy's mother began a new relationship when he was seven and, ultimately, she "chose her new partner over her son." The man was placed in a series of foster homes until age 14 and was living on his own by 16.

Manitoba court documents state the man "experienced difficulty with alcohol," but that he maintained a healthy relationship with his mother and a biological sister. He worked primarily in renovation, demolition and construction as well as in oil industries in Newfoundland, Ontario, Alberta and Manitoba.

According to the court, the man had seemingly normal relationships with girls in his teenaged years and had no mental health issues to speak of.

Yet, the judge who presided over the Manitoba hearing said the man preyed on his stepdaughter's vulnerabilities — including that she had no mother to turn to.

"It is hard to imagine a more harmful sexual assault scenario by a parent to a young girl," the judge stated, in sentencing.

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