Nova Scotia

N.S. man who chained teen gets 11 years in prison

The man who helped kidnap, chain and sexually assault a teenage boy in rural Nova Scotia last year has been sentenced to 11 years in prison.

WARNING: This story contains graphic details that some readers may find offensive

The man who helped kidnap, chain and sexually assault a teenage boy in rural Nova Scotia last year has been sentenced to 11 years in prison.

David James Leblanc, 48, was sentenced in a Supreme Court in Bridgewater after entering guilty pleas last month in both the case of the chained teen, and another case involving child pornography.

The Crown and defence submitted a joint recommendation of 11 years in prison, less 258 days for time served.

Leblanc and Wayne Cunningham first grabbed national headlines last fall when a 16-year-old boy emerged from the woods in Lunenburg County and said the pair had kidnapped him and kept him chained up in a remote home.

The agreed statement of facts in the case reveal that Leblanc lured the teen to the cabin by offering him a painting job and drove him from Halifax to Lunenburg County. The walls of the cabin contained photographs of male genitals and sexual acts.

At the cabin, Leblanc and the teen were met by Cunningham, Leblanc’s partner. The pair offered the teen money to expose himself. The boy said he believed he had no other choice.

He was assaulted and stripped of his clothes.

The teenager was able to escape through a bedroom window, but Leblanc and Cunningham tracked him down and brought him back to the cabin, threatening to kill him if he tried to escape again.

Over the next several days the teen’s wrists and ankles were chained and bolted to both the floor and ceiling of the bedroom, forcing him to sleep standing up.

He was shaved, photographed and repeatedly sexually assaulted.

The teen was able to escape again and made his way to a home in Upper Chelsea, about 130 kilometres southwest of Halifax, pleading for help. He had chains wrapped around his wrists and ankles, and was wearing only a hooded sweatshirt and a hat when he was found.

Leblanc and Cunningham fled to northern Ontario. Later, Leblanc was arrested and Cunningham was found dead. 

Police do not suspect foul play in Cunningham's death.

In a separate case, Leblanc also admitted to taking naked pictures of a two-year-old and a five-year-old on a beach near Liverpool, N.S., in the summer of 2010.

Leblanc admitted to masturbating to the photos and posting them to an American pornography website. He also admitted to touching and fondling the buttocks and penis of the five-year-old in the pictures.

His sentence on those crimes is included in the 11-year sentence.

Upon his release, Leblanc faces a number of conditions including a 10-year weapons ban. He must also be placed on the sex-offender registry, provide a DNA sample and must stay away from places that children frequent, including online.

Mother reads victim impact statement

Last month, Leblanc pleaded guilty to kidnapping, forcible confinement, sexual assault, uttering threats and breach of conditions. In another case, he pleaded guilty to sexual interference and two child pornography charges involving a two-year-old and five-year-old boy in a case that dates back to 2010.

Leblanc sat quietly in court Friday, staring at the mother of his 16-year-old kidnap victim as she described the physical and mental scars her son received at the hands of his kidnappers.

"There is no useful place in society for this man," said the teen's mother in her victim impact statement. She read it on behalf of her and her son.

She said he has to take HIV medication after repeatedly being raped. The mother said in a small town, even with a publication ban, everyone knew her son was the victim.

The court heard that the boy has suffered great emotional trauma. His mother said her son is frightened of being kidnapped again, afraid of people and afraid of locked rooms.

A third man, John Leonard MacKean, 63, of Halifax was later charged. He is accused of sexual assault and communicating for the purposes of obtaining sexual services from a person under 18.

He has elected trial by a judge and jury in Nova Scotia Supreme Court. A preliminary hearing in that case is scheduled for July 25 in Bridgewater.