Ottawa

Ottawa bus driver sentenced to 9 years for sex crimes on children

A judge has sentenced a former OC Transpo driver to nine years in prison for sexually assaulting four children as young as 18 months over a 24-year period.

WARNING: This story contains details some readers may find disturbing

A former OC Transpo driver who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting four children and possessing a massive collection of child pornography has been sentenced to nine years in jail. (Danny Globerman/CBC)

An Ottawa judge has sentenced a former OC Transpo driver to nine years in prison for sexually assaulting four young children under the age of 10 over a 24-year period. 

The man's crimes are outlined in a recent ruling from the Ontario Court of Justice, after he pleaded guilty to charges of sexual assault, sexual touching and possessing and making child pornography last year.

He cannot be identified due to a publication ban imposed by the court. 

He knew all four victims, who were between the ages of one and six. After one of them reported the abuse to police in 2015, the man was charged following an investigation by Ottawa police.

It's not the first time the man, who is now in his 50s, had been accused of sexual assault. Some of the charges had been reported to police in the past, but he denied any wrongdoing and they were never pursued. 

A pre-sentence report revealed the man had once taken a job as a school bus driver so that he could be close to children. He never acted on his sexual attraction to kids at the time, according to the court ruling.

Police find 500K child porn images

Dr. Paul Federoff, a renowned psychiatrist at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, diagnosed the man as a pedophile after learning about his sexual attraction to boys and girls. Dr. Federoff's assessment also revealed the man's nudist lifestyle sparked an interest in child pornography. 

During their investigation into the 2015 complaint of sexual assault, Ottawa police executed a search warrant at the man's home where they found a computer with a massive collection of images of child pornography. The search yielded more than half a million images and 25,000 videos containing sexually explicit material. 

It is alarming that … his presence around nude children led to his interest in child pornography.- Justice Robert Wadden

Dr. Federoff concluded the convicted man is a low to moderate risk of re-offending. In court, he read out an apology expressing remorse for his actions and the suffering he caused to his victims. 

Ontario Court Justice Robert Wadden gave large credit for his early confession and guilty plea, which meant the victims didn't have to "re-live the horror of their ordeals" by testifying in court. However, the judge did not gloss over the fact the man's lifestyle choices were guided by his pedophilic urges.

"It is alarming that, according to his own account, his presence around nude children led to his interest in child pornography. He carried on these activities — driving a school bus, doing nudist activities, possessing child pornography — after concerns had already come to light, and he had been assessed at the Sexual Behaviors Clinic, in 2003," wrote Wadden in his ruling. 

Defence lawyer Paul Lewandowski told CBC News that his client is keen to "move forward" and to get treatment while in prison. 

Victims suffered psychological harm, court told

In victim impact statements prepared for the court, the victims described how the lingering effects of the abuse have caused them psychological harm. The statements expressed feelings of distrust, alienation, and fear. 

The man is being credited for time served in jail which means he will serve another six years and nine months in prison for his crimes. The Crown had asked for a total sentence of 13 years, while the defence had asked for a five-year sentence. 

He must also submit a sample of his DNA and will be on the national sex offender registry for 20 years after his sentence. 

He also faces a lifetime ban on attending public parks or public swimming pools where people under 16 are expected to be present. His sentence also prohibits him from attending daycares, school grounds, community centres with people under 16, or from seeking an employment or volunteer position with people under 16.