The devastating impact of serial child molester Shayne Lund's actions
WARNING: This story contains graphic information
It was an unusually warm day in September 2013 when a 15-year-old girl walked into the sleepy Orillia Ontario Provincial Police detachment and asked for help.
Her new boyfriend — they had been dating for just three weeks — was pressuring her. He was older, 22.
He filmed them having sex. And he was bugging her for something else. He wanted her to set him up with her much younger sister and the children she had been babysitting.
Her boyfriend — skinny, clean-cut and the son of an Ontario Provincial Police Officer — wanted help to live out his twisted sexual desires.
His name is Shayne Lund. He would plead guilty to 35 sex crimes in May 2015, including making child pornography, bestiality and voyeurism. This week, the now 25-year-old joined the ranks of Canada's most notorious and violent sexual predators. Like Paul Bernando, convicted in the 1990s of sex crimes, Lund has been labelled a dangerous offender.
As part of that designation, he was sentenced to an indefinite prison term on Wednesday. Lund's father could be heard sobbing from the second row of the courtroom.
A few rows back, a small group of people sat holding each other, their tears falling silently. They were some of Lund's 14 young victims and their families.
"Every time I look into my daughter's eyes, I remember what happened and I feel like I failed to protect her and that kills me," one woman wrote in a victim impact statement submitted in June. Her daughter was assaulted by Lund.
"I will never go a day without thinking about what you did to my daughter, and how you betrayed me."
Caught on tape
The day after that teenage girl walked into Orillia's OPP station in September 2013, Lund was taken into custody.
Investigators uncovered an overwhelming amount of evidence stored on Lund's own devices: five cellphones, a laptop computer, and a GoPro camera, which pointed at his bed in his father's house.
In his 15-page ruling Wednesday, Justice Joseph Kenkel wrote that the evidence "revealed a nightmare."
Lund had been preying on young victims for almost a decade, since he was 13. The youngest of his victims was two years old. He also violated animals.
Police had so much digital media — photographs, video, and text messages revealing how he manipulated and controlled others to fulfil his own deviant fantasies — that they charged him with more than 200 offences; 129 counts as an adult and 88 dating back to when he was a youth.
He eventually pleaded guilty to 35 sex crimes.
Kenkel documented them all in his ruling, but the judge's clinical language could not diminish the horror of the acts.
- Selfies Lund took with a pair of panties, stolen from a four-year-old girl he attacked.
- Drawings of the naked female body from infancy to adulthood, with commentary under each stage of development was written beside one image.
- Plans to impregnate a girlfriend and rape his own children.
It's one of the few cases I've witnessed where even the Crown attorney had trouble presenting some of the evidence.
Prosecutor Indy Kandola, himself a father, had to pause several times while making submissions during Lund's dangerous offender hearing in September.
"'Who cares, no one will find out.' That's Mr. Lund's life motto," Kandola said to the court at the time.
In their own words
The damage to Lund's young victims, in some cases, is irreparable. It includes suicide attempts, self-harm, never-ending anxiety and ongoing physical pain.
Their identities are under a publication ban, as is legally mandated when someone is a minor or a victim of sexual assault.
You made me into a person that can't even look at herself without a memory that will never disappear.- Victim in Shayne Lund trial
But their victim impact statements reveal gut-wrenching details of what Lund took from them.
"Because of you, I trust no one. I need a drug cocktail to sleep," writes one, her handwriting small and slanted.
Another victim impact statement filled an entire page:
"Dear Shayne Lund, Every day I am reminded of the damage my sexual assault had on me, it's like a scar so deep that can never be washed away from my memory … You made me into a person that can't even look at herself without a memory that will never disappear."
'I find it difficult to trust'
A mother writes, "I can't even imagine the day I have to explain to [my daughter] what happened to her. I pray the day never comes. There are pictures of my little girl out in the cyberworld. It's hard to describe what it feels like to know that at any moment, anywhere, someone could be looking at [intimate] pictures of my daughter."
And yet another: "I find it difficult to trust, even my own family."
Outside the courtroom Wednesday, a little more than three years after Lund was hauled away in handcuffs, one young woman said she felt relieved. That an unbearable weight had finally come off her shoulders.
She's ready to move on, she said, eyes shining — as best she can.