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Crime

Alberta father handed 23.5-year sentence for sexually assaulting daughters

WATCH: In an unprecedented ruling for a crime of this nature, an Alberta father was sentenced to more than 23 years behind bars for sexually assaulting his three daughters over several years. Julia Wong has more from court. WARNING: DISTURBING CONTENT.

GRAPHIC WARNING: This article contains graphic details that may be disturbing to some readers.

An Alberta man has been given a 23-and-a-half-year sentence for repeatedly sexually assaulting his three daughters over a six-year period.

The Evansburg man, who cannot be identified in order to protect the victims, was arrested in 2016. He originally faced more than 40 charges.

In February, he pleaded guilty to 10 charges related to child pornography, firearms and sexual offences against his daughters.

READ MORE: Alberta father admits to sexually assaulting 3 daughters

In an agreed statement of facts, the father admitted to repeatedly sexually assaulting the girls over a period of six years. On two occasions, he allowed men he met online to sexually assault his oldest daughter. He recorded one of the encounters on video.

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The man learned his fate Thursday afternoon in an Edmonton courtroom. Crown prosecutors had asked for the man to serve 29 years in prison, while the defence asked for between 16 and 18 years.

In his decision, Justice Vital Ouellette said the harm caused by the man will be long-lasting.

“None of these three victims will ever be the same and [will] probably always struggle in their future relationships,” he said, before handing down his decision.

Ouellette said he believes the father is in total denial and used biblical passages to justify his actions. Ouellette went on to say he believes the father is delusional and demonizes others who don’t share his beliefs.

“Maybe he’s morally bankrupt, I don’t know,” Ouellette.

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The father sat in court emotionless as the decision was read to him.

Crown prosecutor Keith Nicholls said the case has been challenging.

“It was all difficult,” he said. “Certainly dealing with the multiple complainants, the extended family, the number of lives this matter impacted, for almost the last three years, has been immensely difficult.”

Nicholls would not comment on the justice’s statement about the father being morally bankrupt.

“I think the accused’s actions largely speak for themselves,” he said.

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Fellow Crown prosecutor Suvidha Kalra had these thoughts about how the family will move forward.

“One of the most beautiful things about the human condition is resilience,” she said. “These children, their families, the extended families [and] the support they have reminds us that resilience exists and they have been hurt and they are still refusing to fall.”

On Tuesday, the man addressed the court for nearly two and a half hours. During his address, he asked Ouellette to “indulge my craziness for a bit.”

Targeting his family, the man in his 40s said he was embarrassed by them and their actions.

“This is not about hurting you, this is not about embarrassing you. This is about saving you, the ones I love,” he said of his speech filled with biblical verses.

READ MORE: ‘Indulge my craziness for a bit’: Alberta father speaks at sentencing for sexually assaulting daughters

At one point, six security guards watched as the man, who has been in custody since 2016, spoke of suicidal thoughts.

“Sometimes I think if I die, all this pain will go away.”

Watch below: On Tuesday, a father who admitted to sexually assaulting his daughters spoke for the first time. In a long and rambling statement, he defended his actions. Breanna Karstens-Smith explains.

Alberta father speaks at sentencing for sexually assaulting daughters
Alberta father speaks at sentencing for sexually assaulting daughters

After a short break, the father wrapped up by defending his actions.

“I’m not claiming I never had sexual contact,” he said.

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He said he and one of his daughters had taken vows and that, in the eyes of God, she was his wife. While he refused to apologize for what he did, he acknowledged his guilty plea.

“My actions are contrary to the laws, so therefore I accept the decision,” he ended, thanking the judge.

In his decision, Ouellette said he took into account the fact the father pleaded guilty and he is a first-time offender.

With credit for time served, the man has just under 16 and a half years left on his sentence.

On Thursday night, one of the victims issued the following statement to Global News.

“I would like to start off by thanking the prosecutors, the amount of effort that the two prosecutors put into our case was so appreciated. Not only did they dedicate time to the legal side of our case but we could feel that they really cared about us as people, not just victims. This made the process so much easier. Believe it or not, there were not only tears, there were even a few laughs.

I would next like to thank the defence team, the two devoted young women were an amazing and hardworking group of lawyers, we appreciate the both of them and I am happy the both of them were the ones representing the accused. It must have been a difficult job.

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I also want to thank the judge. I found that his empathy and kindness towards the defendant was in sharp contrast to the criminal actions that we had to relive. Even the sheriffs were kind and helped relieve the stress.

And last but not least I want to the thank the paralegal, and our support systems through (Zebra) and our Drayton Valley social workers, they made us laugh and even brought Ren and Fletcher (the dogs through Zebra Centre) to help us get through these tough times at court. And we can’t forget about the RCMP officers who managed our case! Thank you. 

I just ask one last thing… Anyone who hasn’t been through our experience please refrain yourself from putting your opinion and judgment into our family’s life. My mother had nothing to do with what happened, she frequently worked between 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. and when she was home she slept throughout the day. I could go on for hours about how my family and I feel but I don’t see any point to it, this is our life, we lived it and we know what happened. So all I am asking of everyone who reads this please try to support us or say nothing at all. We are very grateful for all the kind words and support that we have received. For those who have said negative things without knowing us, we forgive your ignorance.

Us as a family are very strong, we lean on each other. We are looking forward to moving on and getting past this, we will never forget but we will try our best to turn this experience into something better, for example I am in a criminal justice studies internship in hopes to soon be a prosecutor to help people like my family and I. Thank you for taking your time to read this it is very appreciated!”

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With files from Breanna Karstens-Smith and Julia Wong, Global News.

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