Hutterite teen guilty in multiple sex assaults
A 19-year-old member of a Manitoba Hutterite colony has admitted to years of sexual abuse against young boys, who were often drugged and physically restrained.
The man -- who can't be named because some of his crimes occurred while he was a youth -- pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of sexual interference and forcible confinement. He will return to court June 25 following the completion of a pre-sentence report.
RCMP initially charged the man with attacks against 11 boys between the ages of 8 and 14 over a seven-year period beginning in 2002. However, he pleaded guilty Tuesday to crimes against just three young victims between 2006 and 2009, with the Crown dropping the remaining charges.
Prosecutor Jennifer Mann told court they would have had difficulty proving many of the offences because the man was under the age of 13 when they occurred, meaning the Criminal Code wouldn't have applied to him.
Crown and defence lawyers submitted a joint statement of facts outlining the incidents on the colony in the Rural Municipality of Cartier. The Free Press is not naming the colony to protect the identity of the victims.
The accused admits he started sexually touching other boys at the colony when he was around 11 years of age and told police he would tie some of his victims to a chair and drug them with rubbing alcohol that he'd placed inside a mask they were forced to wear. Many of the incidents happened inside a pig barn and involved fondling and oral sex, court was told. One of the victims was just eight years old and told RCMP the accused accosted him at least 50 times, with the most recent incident happening just weeks before his arrest. The man admits he often wore gloves and a mask while carrying out his crimes.
The accused was not related to any of his victims and didn't hold any position of trust over them, court was told. Police got a confession from the man following three lengthy interviews. Justice officials haven't said why the chronic abuse was suddenly disclosed to police last year following years of secrecy.
A colony spokesperson told the Free Press last year how media attention surrounding the case is making it harder for members to deal with what happened. People from the closed society are not authorized to comment, he added.
Robert Rhodes, an author familiar with Hutterite living, said dealing with the police during the investigation has likely been a tough experience for them because of their limited interaction with the outside world.
Guilty plea in Hutterite sex abuse case
A young Manitoba man has pleaded guilty to committing acts of long-term sexual abuse against boys at a Hutterite colony.
The man, 19, pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual interference and a single count of forcible confinement during a hearing in Winnipeg on Tuesday.
He cannot be named under the provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice act, as one of the crimes happened when he was under 18 years-old.
He will be back in court on June 25 for sentencing.
'On approximately five occasions, the accused would make [the victim] wear a mask that smelled of an unknown substance and which gave him a headache.'—Agreed statement of facts
The man was arrested in August 2009 after RCMP began an investigation into alleged sex abuse on a Hutterite colony in the Rural Municipality of Cartier. He has been behind bars ever since and has never applied for bail.
His defence lawyer will ask the sentencing judge to give the man a time-served sentence, which would be the equivalent of about two years.
The Crown has not yet said what punishment it is seeking in the disturbing case.
The man was initially charged with 60 separate offences involving 10 victims, but the Crown stayed all but the four charges relating to three victims on Tuesday.
Prosecutor Jennifer Mann told court that a number of the charges were duplicates. In some of them there was no likelihood of conviction because the Crown couldn't conclusively prove how old he was when they happened.
Under the Criminal Code, only people aged 12 and over can be criminally charged.
Victims confined, drugged
According to an agreed statement of facts tendered in court, the man started sexually touching other boys at the colony when he was between 11 and 13 years old.
On some occasions he would tie them up and attempt to drug them into submission using rubbing alcohol.
One of the young victims told RCMP that he was 12 when he was tied to a chair in a pig barn at the colony and fondled.
Another victim said that starting in December 2008, the man "engaged in repeated sexual contact" with him, many times in the same pig barn. The victim, who was under 12, told investigators that the man would force him to wear rubber gloves during the incidents.
"If [the victim] did not want to wear rubber gloves, the accused would pin him down until he put them on," the statement of facts said. "As well, on approximately five occasions, the accused would make [the victim] wear a mask that smelled of an unknown substance and which gave him a headache."
The man would also wear gloves and a mask, the statement said.
The final incident happened one month prior to RCMP arresting the man. In an interview with police, the victim, 9, estimated that the man approached him between 50 and 75 times.
Five times, the boy said, he was confined to a chair with plastic ties and would be fondled.
"[The victim] disclosed that the accused would often use his fingers like pliers and pinch [the victim] all over his bum," the statement said.
Police managed to elicit information from the man about the crimes after three interviews with him after his arrest, the statement said.
He has no prior record.
None of the victims were related to him, the statement of facts said.
"There is no suggestion that the accused was in a position of trust or authority … [or] was a person with whom the complainants were in a relationship of dependency."
Police would not say what led them to investigate the colony, but the man's arrest came just weeks after RCMP in Manitou, Man., charged a 72-year-old man from another Hutterite colony, alleging similar crimes.
His case remains before the courts.