P.E.I. man sentenced by N.S. judge for sex offences against girl
Warning: This story contains details of a sexual assault
A Nova Scotia judge has sentenced a P.E.I. man to two years in prison and three years of probation for sex offences involving a six-year-old girl.
Jason Thomas Fisher, 36, was sentenced Wednesday morning in Nova Scotia Supreme Court, following a two-day trial in June. The girl, who is now eight, testified at the trial.
Fisher was convicted of sexual assault, sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching, but the sexual assault charge was stayed because it was based on the same set of facts as the other offences.
The girl, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, told the court that during one evening in August 2017 Fisher asked her to touch his penis at a home in Dartmouth, N.S.
The girl couldn't recall whether it was over or under his clothing. Afterward, Fisher told her not to tell anyone and said the incident was "their secret."
On Wednesday, Justice John Bodurtha cited that coercion as an aggravating factor in sentencing.
The judge expressed concern at the results of a psychiatric assessment of Fisher, which described him as an "above average" risk to reoffend sexually. The judge also noted Fisher has not shown remorse or taken responsibility for the assault.
A victim impact statement submitted by the girl's mother said her daughter is more emotional, has problems sleeping and has nightmares as a result of the assault.
It was only when the mother noticed her daughter's unusual behaviour in September 2017 and questioned her about it that the offence was revealed.
Bodurtha said the emotional toll from the abuse in cases like this can be much worse than the actual physical contact.
"The effects of Mr. Fisher's actions will be everlasting," the judge said.
In 2007, Fisher was convicted in P.E.I. of sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching, offences that involved a four-year-old boy. He received a one-year jail term, followed by a year's probation. As part of that sentence, he also participated in a 12-week sex offender program.
'Think about your actions'
Fisher is getting 328 days of credit for the time he spent in jail while his current case made its way through the courts. He has 402 days left to serve.
In addition to jail and probation, Fisher's name is being added to the national sex-offender registry and his DNA is being put in a national databank. He also faces a lifetime weapons ban.
The judge also ordered Fisher to stay away from the girl and her mother. When he's released from prison, he must stay away from places children frequent, such as schools and playgrounds. That order will be in place for 20 years.
Just before he left the courtroom, Bodurtha spoke directly to Fisher.
"Think about why you're there [prison], think about your actions, think about how you can be reintegrated into society."