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12 months for sexual assault

Kevin Wilson
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Jan 21/02) - A Fort McPherson man could spend as little as eight months in jail for sexually assaulting a 20-year-old woman "with the mental capacity of ... a four-year-old."

Johnny Simon was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment Jan. 15, after pleading guilty to charges of sexual assault, mischief and possession of stolen property.

"This is a despicable, disgusting exploitation of someone who is weaker than the accused," territorial court Judge Michel Bourassa said before imposing sentence.

Court heard that on the evening of Sept. 16 last year, Simon entered through an open door of a Fort McPherson home, looking to steal videotapes and video games.

According to Crown attorney Ari Slatkoff, Simon noticed one of the occupants of the home, a developmentally disabled woman, sitting in the living room while her mother slept upstairs. Simon led the girl to a porch area and told her to sit down. He then removed her pants and underwear and sexually assaulted her.

When questioned by police about the sexual assault. Simon admitted there had been sexual contact, "but denied penetration took place." Slatkoff said Simon then "indicated the child initiated the sexual contact."

Slatkoff and defence lawyer Scott Duke presented Judge Bourassa with a joint submission for a sentence of one year's jail time for the sexual assault. Simon spent four months in remand custody prior to being sentenced, which could be credited as up to six months time served.

Slatkoff indicated that given the victim's limited communication skills, "the Crown would have had difficulties," prosecuting the case. "The accused can prey on a mentally challenged woman and use ... that very situation in support of a reduced sentence," a disgusted-sounding Bourassa said.

In the end, the judge went along with the submission, but tacked on another two months to be served consecutively for the mischief charge.