KENTVILLE, NS - The judge will weigh submissions from the Crown and defence before sentencing a Kingston man who pleaded guilty last year to two sex-related offences that occurred at a daycare.
Jeffrey Roy Casey, 29, changed his pleas to guilty in July 2017 to charges of sexual touching involving a person under 14 years of age and sexual assault. The charges involve two complainants, whose identities are protected by a publication ban.
His trial proceeded on other charges of sexual assault and sexual touching involving a person under age 14 on July 20, 2017. Casey was found not guilty and acquitted of these charges, which involved a third complainant.
The charges he pleaded guilty to were adjourned to allow time for a pre-sentence report to be prepared and for sentencing. Casey committed the offences between June 27, 2006, and Jan. 1, 2010. The victims ranged in age from about six years to 10 years during the timeframe of the offences.
Casey was present in Kentville provincial court for his sentencing hearing on Jan. 29. Crown prosecutor Robert Morrison and defence lawyer Chris Manning made submissions on the sentencing. Following the submissions, Judge Alan Tufts adjourned the hearing to Feb. 5 to allow time to fully consider the sentencing recommendations.
Tufts said it would have taken the rest of the morning for him to do so but this would have meant that another docketed case would “fall by the wayside.”
“I certainly came in here with an open mind,” Tufts said. “I’m going to need some time to organize my thoughts.”
Casey’s mother ran an unlicensed residential daycare on Old French Road in the Ravenwood subdivision. Morrison told the court that sometimes one of the victims would sit in Casey’s lap to watch TV. On one occasion, Casey placed his hand on the girl’s vagina, telling her that another girl had let him do it.
Morrison said another victim conveyed a more involved set of facts that unfolded over several years. She described approximately 10 incidents of Casey sexually assaulting her.
The victim described being in Casey’s bedroom watching TV or playing video games. He took her pants off and touched her. Casey made her touch his penis. There were incidents of digital penetration, attempts at oral sex and attempts at sexual intercourse.
The victim said it hurt during the attempts at intercourse and she’d cry. Casey would stop but continued with other acts.
Morrison said Casey told the girl not to tell anyone. There was some dispute over the nature and frequency of the touching but Morrison said that, at the end, Casey accepted the victim’s evidence. Morrison said Casey accepts responsibility for the offences and has expressed remorse.
Morrison said the court received a forensic sexual behaviour report on Casey. Morrison said the report is “curious” from the Crown’s perspective. The author determined that Casey is a low risk to reoffend sexually but was unable to determine through testing what specifically arouses Casey. The report recommended that Casey continue to participate in a treatment program for sexual offenders but Morrison said, “it might be difficult to determine” how to approach his treatment.
Morrison said the court received victim impact statements from both victims. He said the first victim’s report struck him as it’s a “clear illustration” of how one incident can affect someone very profoundly. She reported that she would cry in class. She didn’t want to tell anyone about the incident and doesn’t think she’ll ever recover fully emotionally.
The other victim reported that the incidents have affected everything in her life, including her ability to trust in relationships. She said she maintained a façade for everyone else but cried herself to sleep at night. She said she is scared every day. She kept the abuse a secret for a long time but eventually told a boyfriend, who told the victim’s mother.
“She had intended to bury it,” Morrison said.
The Crown recommended nine months in custody for Casey followed by 24 months of probation with conditions. The Crown also recommended a firearms prohibition, a Sex Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA) order, a DNA order and a 10-year Section 161 order. This would prevent Casey from attending any place where people under the age of 16 are present or could reasonably be expected to be present. He would also be ordered to have no communication with people under age 16 unless it’s an immediate family member.
Manning recommended a 12 to 15-month conditional sentence order with house arrest, followed by 24 months of probation. Manning was in agreement with the remaining sentencing recommendations made by the Crown.
Morrison said the Crown is opposed to a conditional sentence. House arrest would be a continuation of Casey’s present lifestyle and doesn’t denunciate the abuse of children.
Manning said Casey doesn’t drive, has no employment history and remains at home playing video games. Manning said Casey is severely socially isolated and has described himself as “lacking motivation” and “lazy.” The pre-sentence report indicated that Casey suffers from depression and personal identification issues.
Casey currently has a Grade 11 education and is taking an assessment for his GED. Casey has one career aspiration, to become a pastry chef. Manning said Casey doesn’t use alcohol or drugs and he doesn’t gamble. Casey has applied for mental health counselling, which can begin in February.
Morrison said there were elements of Casey being in a position of trust toward the victims and if the Crown was pressed to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, “we probably could have done that.” Morrison said there were elements of grooming involved.
Manning said he doesn’t think Casey “fits squarely into a position of trust” although “there are shadows of that in this situation.”
Casey was arrested without incident at a Kingston residence on Sept. 21, 2016. He was arraigned and released on conditions following an initial court appearance. The Kings District RCMP received information on Sept. 20, 2016, indicating that while attending the daycare, a young person was allegedly sexually assaulted by a male adult who was not an employee of the daycare but who lived in the residence. An investigation began immediately, resulting in two additional victims coming forward.
Casey is charged with another count of sexual assault, two more counts of sexual touching involving a person under age 14 and invitation to sexual touching involving a person under age 14. These charges have not been proven in court and have been adjourned to Feb. 5 for disposition.