November 28, 2016 8:29 pm
Updated: November 28, 2016 9:07 pm

‘He has more rights than me’: Vernon sexual assault victim frustrated with justice system

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In August 2012, Richard Ganzeveld, 54, committed a violent sexual assault in Vernon. He pled guilty to charges of assault with a weapon, unlawful confinement and sexual assault. Earlier this month he was sentenced to three years in custody.

However, with credit for time served, Ganzeveld only has four months left behind bars.

He’ll face multiple conditions once he’s released. However, his victim believes that doesn’t go far enough. She is speaking out arguing the justice system is not doing enough to protect her.

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“With the law, he has more rights than me,” she said in an interview on Monday.

Global News is not using the victim’s name because her identity is protected by a publication ban.

In August 2012 Ganzeveld tied her to a bed, duct taped her mouth shut, touched her sexually and hit her with the handle of a knife.

She escaped after he collapsed from the alcohol and prescription drugs he had consumed.

Read More: Vernon court hears details of violent sexual assault

At a sentencing hearing, Ganzeveld’s lawyer painted a picture of him as someone who had struggled with alcoholism and had repeatedly tried to commit suicide.

Defense council argued that if those mental health and addictions issues are dealt with, Ganzeveld’s risk of offending is significantly reduced.

Once he is out from behind bars, Ganzeveld will be on probation for three years under 12 conditions.

Among other things, he will be required to report his romantic relationships with women to his probation officer and pursue medically appropriate psychiatric or medical treatment.

Still his victim worries about what will happen when he is released.

“I’m going to be scared and probably lock myself in my house again. They won’t even tell me what kind of vehicle he is going to be driving. I’m not allowed to know that or where he is going to be living,” she said.

She feels frustrated by the system.

“They talk about that they protect women…it doesn’t feel like it at all,” she said.

In court Ganzeveld’s lawyer argued focusing on rehabilitation and reintegration for Ganzeveld would also help protect the public.

In a statement, a Criminal Justice Branch spokesperson said, “We have been in contact with the victim throughout this process and have tried to ensure her concerns were fully addressed on sentencing. We would be happy to meet with her at any time to explain the process going forward.”

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