Abuser tells judge he’s ready to change his ways for his child

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He hesitated before he spoke.

The man in the prisoner’s box in the London courtroom didn’t answer Superior Court Justice Duncan Grace immediately when he was asked about whether he agreed to plead guilty to sexual assault and assault for attacks on his former romantic partner.

He told the judge he was in agreement, but Grace said the man’s body language was saying something else.

“I just want this behind me,” the man, 37, said before entering his guilty pleas on two counts from attacks dated nine years ago and was sentenced to a total of three years in prison. He has two years left to serve.

He was originally facing 12 charges, but the rest were withdrawn.

Given the facts of the case and the lingering effects of the abuse on his victim and his child, he had good reason to want to move on.

What Grace heard was not only the horrifying details of abuse, but also a victim impact statement that was a textbook case about the devastating effects of domestic violence.

The woman’s identity is protected by court order. She had entered into a romantic relationship with the man, seven years older than her, when she was just 21. They had a child together two years later.

The woman, now 30, wrote in the statement, read to Grace by assistant Crown attorney Vanessa Decker, that the man was controlling and his “words were quickly replaced with manipulative and debilitating messages, actions and threats that have had a lasting and intrusive impact on all areas of my life.”

The agreed statement of facts stated some of his actions were linked to his addiction to crack cocaine. The sexual assaults happened in their own home during what had started to be consensual relations. Once, the man ignored her demands that he wear a condom and had sex with her anyway.

He also told the woman he once had a partner who liked to be choked during sex. The woman told him she didn’t want that to happen. That didn’t stop the man from choking her until she lost consciousness. This happened several times.

The man introduced her to crack cocaine and his addiction worsened. He often would demand for her bank card. Decker described an incident when the man yanked the woman’s hair and punched her in the head.

Another time, when he was unable to buy more drugs, he came home, carried her to the bed and punched her in the face several times. She was screaming and the man feared the police would show up, so he left.

The police did knock on her door, but she hid in the bathroom, too fearful to come out.

Her victim impact statement told of a life lost. She wrote that she had been charmed by the older man but it had led to mental, sexual and physical abuse. He controlled her finances, her phone and her car. He told her how to dress “claiming he had my best interest in mind.”

As a teenager, she had goals. She worked two jobs and juggled school, sports, family and friends. Once the man came into her life, she dropped out of college and lost jobs. She had to take five leaves of absence from her job to take care of sickness and injuries.

She hasn’t had a job in three years and is on a disability pension.

“I have lost five vehicles. I have faced three evictions, homelessness, slept in a stairwell 11 weeks pregnant, stayed in a women’s shelter and moved nearly 20 times,” she wrote. “I am disabled, I live in subsidized housing and rely on public transportation.”

She has two children, but neither are in her care. She has been charged by the police twice and has struggled with addiction to crack cocaine.

She has scars from the abuse, and has headaches, muscle pain, ringing in her ears, weight loss, malnutrition and hair loss. She suffers from depression, anxiety, nightmares, flashbacks and a number of mental health symptoms.

“I am emotionally stunted,” she wrote.

Her longest period of sobriety from crack is 2 1/2 years. Her first rehabilitation stint was when she was 22. Between November 2017 and July 2018, she tried three different rehab centres and failed all of them.

Her locks have been changed, the police have done a home safety audit on her home and she remains fearful because the man knows where she lives.

“I require support people, safety plans, harm reduction, protection, addiction treatment, trauma therapy, medication and counselling as a result of (his) abuse and exploitation…My quality of life is a culture shock.”

“It’s time. Time for us to heal,” she wrote.

The man, who has a criminal record that includes a sexual assault on another woman, apologized to the woman and told the judge their daughter is “well-adjusted” and “loves her bother, her mom and dad a lot.”

“The point of me taking this deal was in the long term interest of my daughter,” he said and that he wanted a federal prison sentence to take advantage of the programming offered there.

Grace accepted the joint sentencing submission, calling the case “a depressing fact situation.”

He told the man he and the woman should be “unbelievably proud” of their daughter.

“The most important thing you will ever do in your life is to see that your daughter has a happy and productive life,” the judge said.

He urged the man to think about her anytime he thought about trying drugs again and to take part in the help offered to him while in prison.

“I hope you carry through,” Grace said.

jsims@postmedia.com

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