'He's a coward,' says teen victim of serial rapist Sofyan Boalag, declared dangerous offender
Judge ruled Boalag to be held in custody indefinitely to protect the public
There were hugs and tears of joy and relief in provincial court in St. John's Thursday as convicted rapist Sofyan Boalag was declared a dangerous offender.
His three victims were in court for what they hope will be the last chapter of this horrific story.
Boalag, 38, sexually assaulted two women and a 15-year-old girl in St. John's in the summer and fall of 2012.
The 15-year old will be 21 on Sunday. After court, she said she didn't expect Boalag to be deemed a dangerous offender.
"Relieved. I have some faith back in the justice system, " she said. "They have done the right thing here. I was prepared for the worst."
Boalag's lawyer, Jeff Brace, had argued that his client didn't fit the criteria of a dangerous offender and should be sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Crown prosecutor Trisha McCarthy had asked for the dangerous offender designation.
McCarthy had argued Boalag didn't have an understanding of his sexually deviant behaviour, adding he instead blamed it on substance abuse issues.
"He's a coward," said the youngest victim.
"He should never have done what he done no matter if he was high, drunk, it didn't matter. There's always common sense. Always."
It impacted me greatly. I had suicide attempts. I dropped out of school.- Youngest sexual assault victim
Chief Judge of the provincial court, Pamela Goulding, sided with the crown, saying a lesser sentenced wouldn't be good enough.
In her written decision, Goulding said, "I am not satisfied that there is a reasonable expectation that the public can be adequately protected from Mr. Boalag by a measure less than an indeterminate sentence."
Boalag will remain in custody until the Parole Board of Canada determines he is fit to be released.
The then 15-year-old victim said she's happy she played a role in getting Boalag convicted.
"I'm so glad I stepped up and did this and went through this so it didn't happen to anybody else," she said.
"I'm glad I didn't hide in the shadows and not come forward."
But she is not critical of sexual assault victims who don't go to the police.
"You are still strong," she said. "You still survived, and no matter your decision to come forward or not to come forward, you still have the strength of a million men."
The impact on her life
"It impacted me greatly. I had suicide attempts. I dropped out of school," she said.
"There was so much that went on. But I'm now doing a lot better. I don't have those thoughts," she added.
"I'm doing two degrees actually. I'm working full time. And I'm happy."
I just want to let people know that you can come back from this.- Youngest sexual assault victim
She said some things about the way the system treats victims of sexual assault have to change, especially when it comes to cross-examination during the trial.
"I know you've got to find out the truth, and if it is true, but there still should be something that doesn't let you be interrogated down to your sexuality," she said. "I was asked my sexuality. It's just, some things are not needed."
She said the way sexual assault victims are handled in court is preventing other victims from coming forward.
Being around men still difficult
"It's still hard. And there are triggers when it comes to certain aspects," she said.
"I have some very strong men in my life that I love with all of my heart, especially my pop."
"I just want to let people know that you can come back from this. And if you haven't come forward and it happened, you still have the strength to get through this."
Judge Pamela Goulding says at this point he needs to be held infinitely to protect the public. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cbcnl?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#cbcnl</a> <a href="https://t.co/DAOV4k5PkV">pic.twitter.com/DAOV4k5PkV</a>—@glenn_payette