Friday, July 30, 2010
Man, 48, accused of abusing teenage stepdaughter
Winnipeg police have seized videotapes and explicit emails they say show a 48-year-old man sexually abusing his teenaged stepdaughter and secretly recording her on camera.
The accused -- who can't be named to protect the identity of the 16-year-old girl -- was recently arrested on charges of voyeurism, making child pornography and sexual assault. None of the allegations have been proved and he is presumed innocent.
Police began investigating in January after the teen told her mother she woke up in their West End home to find her stepfather molesting her.
The woman also discovered numerous email messages her husband of five years had allegedly been sending to her daughter for the past several months.
She went to court and obtained a restraining order against the man, filing copies of the emails with the courts. She also filed for divorce.
In the emails, the man is accused of offering his stepdaughter cash, electronics and even allowing her to skip school and keep it a secret. But he indicates there will be a price.
"You know that your mom will be mad at you skipping school and you keep asking me to do things for you, I don't ask anything in return but this time I think that you owe me for doing this for you!
"If you agree to my terms I will continue to keep your secrets. My term is this you will agree to do what I ask of you with no questions," he allegedly wrote in an April 2009 email.
In May 2009, the girl received an email stating: "I want that we can spend some quality time together and I would like to see you the way your mom does."
Further emails included invitations for the girl to spend time with him in exchange for money, an iPod and a cellular phone.
"Would you like me to give you $300 tomorrow? All you have to do is one simple thing and I will give you the money in cash. All you have to do is come into the room. Let me know you got this email and say yes," reads an August 2009 email.
Police arrested the man in March 2010 and initially charged him with sexual assault and sexual interference. He was released on a promise to appear in court with conditions not to have any contact with the girl or his estranged wife.
The investigation remained open and took another turn when police recently discovered a series of videotapes which contain nude images of the girl. She apparently had no idea they had been taken. Police say the recordings were made between September 2007 and December 2009, beginning when the girl was just 13. There are no allegations they had been sold or distributed.
Police rearrested the man earlier this week on the additional charges of child pornography and voyeurism. He has been detained in custody at the Winnipeg Remand Centre. The investigation is ongoing.
These are pretty serious charges but I do not feel that this man should be held in custody, causing further overcrowding in the remand facility, which has adverse effects on all inmates. Only the most dangerous individuals who pose a high risk to the public safety should be detained, but the majority, should be granted bail. I do not believe this man poses a great danger to society or the public, and therefore, should not be held in custody. He should have been released on bail in the community with strict conditions.