A man who was being held at Saskatoon’s Regional Psychiatric Centre (RPC) has been convicted of confining and assaulting one of the centre’s civilian employees.
Joseph Yaremko was sentenced to three years in prison for assault causing bodily harm and unlawful confinement in relation to the August 2019 incident.
The 39-year-old appeared by video from the Regina Correctional Centre and, for the most part, sat silently with his hands in his lap.
Yaremko has remained in custody since the assault and will spend 13 months in prison after time served.
Court heard he was at the RPC after being charged with sexual assault in a different incident.
Officials would normally send someone to a hospital for a mental evaluation, but they were concerned after Yaremko escaped from a hospital in 2014 which resulted in a nearly five-hour standoff with Saskatoon police.
A joint statement between the Crown and defence said Yaremko was provided clothing by the victim, who can’t be named due to a publication ban.
Days later, he went back to her office asking for new shoes because the first pair didn’t fit well.
He then showed her a letter that had her name and outlined sexual acts multiple times.
It concerned her so she stopped reading and put the letter down.
They left the office to find him a pair of shoes.
Security footage from the RPC hallway was played in court showing Yaremko trying on shoes in a walk-in closet.
Court heard she tried to stay between him and an open door, making sure to give herself an exit.
But at one point he blocked off that route and closed the door.
She tried to talk to him as he pressed her against a wall and assaulted her as she tried to escape.
A coworker was able to open the door from the outside and let her out after hearing her scream.
The Crown said before the door was open, she believed she would be raped.
He added the entire incident took less than a minute, but must have felt like an eternity.
The victim worked at the RPC for more than a decade and liked her job, but after a year away from the centre, she has left that position.
Her statement outlined the psychological toll the incident has had on her noting she’s always on edge and concerned for her safety.
“This isn’t living. It is doomsday living,” senior Crown prosecutor Evan Thompson read on her behalf.
His defence lawyer noted that at some point before being arrested on the sexual assault charge, Yaremko had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Meagan Bortis also said he suffers from addiction and has been using methamphetamine over the last three years prior to his arrest.
“This was an unprovoked attack on a civilian worker who loved her job and did her job to help people like Mr. Yaremko. At the time of this assault she was trying to help him,” said Judge Miguel Martinez.
However, the judge also noted the guilty plea which Yaremko entered earlier this month played a factor.
Yaremko will be back in front of a judge in February for the sexual assault case.