Man who sexually assaulted woman on North Vancouver trail gets 6-month conditional sentence

Click to play video: 'North Shore trail groper sentenced'
North Shore trail groper sentenced
The man who groped a woman on a North Vancouver trail last year has been sentenced for sexual assault. Kristen Robinson reports – Dec 14, 2023

A 23-year-old man who sexually assaulted a woman on a popular trail in North Vancouver last year has been sentenced to a conditional sentence of imprisonment for six months.

Jairus-Paul Covacha Sacramento will spend the first three months of his sentence under house arrest. Another 18 months of probation will follow, Judge Joseph Galati said in provincial court on Thursday.

He found it would be “contrary to public interest” to grant Sacramento a discharge, which is what the defence requested.

A conditional sentence is served outside of jail by the offender and used by a judge if they are satisfied an offender is not a danger to the community and does not have a history of failing to obey court orders.

Click to play video: 'B.C. woman criticizes North Vancouver RCMP for response to alleged sexual assault'
B.C. woman criticizes North Vancouver RCMP for response to alleged sexual assault

On Feb. 13, 2022, the victim said she was walking on the Varley Trail in the afternoon when a stranger-perpetrator grabbed her from behind. She filmed him walking away with her cellphone, and in that video, she can be seen chasing him and shouting, “What makes you think it’s okay to smack me in the ass? Turn around!”

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In that video, the perpetrator appeared to try to shield his face from view, and when confronted about the alleged groping, responded on tape, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He attempted to knock the phone down several times, and the woman told him she would report the incident to North Vancouver RCMP.

Click to play video: 'RCMP release composite sketch of North Vancouver sex assault suspect'
RCMP release composite sketch of North Vancouver sex assault suspect

The Crown sought up to 120 days of jail time for Sacramento, in addition to 18 months of probation, claiming he had minimized his actions, and lacked understanding and remorse.

The defence wanted a two-year conditional discharge for the first-time offender, with 50 hours of community service, mandatory counselling, restrictions on his drug and alcohol consumption, and other provisions.

Sacramento apologized for his actions in court on Nov. 27, but claimed the victim is “exaggerating what happened.” He was high on cannabis at the time of the assault and said he wasn’t in his “right mind.”

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Click to play video: 'Man charged with four sex assaults has court date'
Man charged with four sex assaults has court date

“It’s not even possible for me to touch her so aggressively in broad daylight,” Sacramento said, in part, during the sentencing hearing last month. I don’t see why I’m actually being targeted so aggressively. The truth is I didn’t attack her at all … I literally just tapped her on the butt.”

Sacramento said he felt the conviction has “completely ruined” his reputation and he didn’t mean to hurt anyone.

Click to play video: 'Concerns over release of sex assault suspect'
Concerns over release of sex assault suspect

In a statement read aloud at the same hearing, the victim — whose identity is protected by a publication ban — said she still has panic attacks at night as a result of the assault.

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“I went from being my best to being a shell of myself,” she said, adding she has suffered financially and professionally as well. “Nature is where I find peace and this was taken away from me.”

Sacramento’s pre-sentencing report states that he had intended to “pick up” a woman on his way home that day and had a prepared pickup line ready. It further states he suggested the victim was “crazy,” engaged in victim-blaming, and suggested the victim would have liked it if she were younger and wearing revealing clothes.

Neither the victim nor Sacramento wanted to speak with Global News outside the courtroom last month.

— with files from Kristen Robinson

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