Nova Scotia

John Leonard MacKean guilty in chained teen case

After deliberating for much of Friday, a Nova Scotia jury has found John Leonard MacKean guilty of sexually assaulting a boy who was held for days in chains in a remote cabin.

WARNING: This story contains explicit details of a sexual nature

After deliberating for much of Friday, a Nova Scotia jury has found John Leonard MacKean guilty of sexually assaulting a boy who was held for days in chains in a remote cabin.

The jury announced it had verdict around 4:20 p.m. local time. MacKean, of Lower Sackville, was also found guilty of communicating for the purpose of obtaining sexual services from a person under 18.

MacKean, 64, will be sentenced on June 24. His daughter began to sob as the verdict was announced, as did the mother of the victim.

"I’m really grateful that he was found guilty on both counts," the mother of the victim told reporters. "I really didn't know what way it was going to go, I really didn't. And I'm glad that it's going to be over."

A key piece of evidence was a videotaped interview MacKean had with police.

That video made it a difficult case to defend, according to MacKean's lawyer, Mike Taylor.

"It certainly posed problems," he said. "There were acknowledgements by Mr. MacKean that he had done certain things during that process. So that certainly caused some difficulty."

Crown prosecutor Lloyd Tancock agreed the video played an important role in the conviction. 

MacKean remains free on bail until his sentencing. The communicating charge carries a minimum penalty of six months in jail; the sexual assault charge has a maximum sentence of 10 years.

The victim testified that he was blindfolded with a sleeping mask and his hands and feet were chained to a bed when a man sexually assaulted him at the cabin in a rural area, where he was held against his will for eight days.

The boy, now 17, told the province's Supreme Court in Bridgewater that a man performed oral sex on him as he cried, unable to move.

MacKean testified in his own defence. He told the jury that when he arrived at the cabin the teen was not chained and did not seem upset.

DNA found in cabin

The teen said he is certain attack was not carried out by one of two other men accused in the case, one of whom was convicted in his kidnapping, because he was able to determine from a limited view beneath his blindfold that the perpetrator was a balding, heavy-set man who wore glasses.

The court heard that MacKean's DNA was found on the teen and on the bed to which he was chained.

MacKean denied he performed oral sex on the youth, said he was led to believe the victim was a young adult and that if he felt the youth was distressed, he would have made sure he was freed.

He said he was invited to the cabin by Wayne Alan Cunningham, with whom he had a sexual relationship after the two met at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

Cunningham invited MacKean to the cabin where the teen was being held.

David James LeBlanc, another man accused in the case, was sentenced last June to 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to kidnapping, forcible confinement, sexual assault, uttering threats and breach of conditions.

An agreed statement of facts in LeBlanc's case said he offered the teen a painting job and drove him in a van from Halifax to a cabin in Lunenburg County about 130 kilometres away in September 2012 on the pretext of picking up painting supplies.

The youth later escaped and a woman found him barefoot at her doorstep, chained at his wrists and ankles.

LeBlanc was arrested in northern Ontario in September 2012. Police were also searching at the time for Cunningham, whose body was later found near the area where LeBlanc was arrested. Foul play was not suspected in his death.