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Care home still sought for Yk man

Andrew Livingstone
Northern News Services
Published Friday, March 19, 2010

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - A Yellowknife man pleaded guilty last week to breaking a court order by visiting the victim of a sexual assault he committed over a year ago.

Tommy Kapatoan, 21, was given one day in jail and released on a revised probation order after entering the guilty plea March 11.

Kapatoan was released from jail last week and is required to stay at a residence selected by his probation officer, an amendment made to the original probation order put in place from the sexual assault trial.

He was previously released from jail on Jan. 6 after 11 months of incarceration for a sexual assault against a 50-year-old woman. He had pleaded guilty to the assault, and was given time served due to his lengthy stint in jail awaiting a psychiatric assessment.

On Jan. 7, Kapatoan visited the victim and was arrested by police. He was also charged with assaulting a police officer, but that charge was dropped when he entered a guilty plea to breaking the court order.

Kapatoan's psychiatric assessment concluded that he has the mental capacity of an 11-year-old and the reading and writing skills of a child in Grade 5.

His case is "unique," according to defence attorney Dan Rideout and "it's certainly the case that Tommy needs specialized care." He added Kapatoan is now on medication and is more "engaged" in conversations than Rideout has ever seen.

Justice Bernadette Schmaltz said Kapatoan will still be required to avoid any contact with the victim for two years and must make "all reasonable efforts" to take his medication.

Since taking on the case, Rideout has worked hard to get Kapatoan into some form of assisted living, but space in Yellowknife for someone like Kapatoan is currently non-existent, he said. There is no place to "meet with his specific needs," the defence lawyer said. Rideout said a meeting with Kapatoan, a psychiatrist and officials with the Department of Health and Social Services on March 10 netted some positive results. The department is looking at placement in a facility down south, something Kapatoan has agreed to, as long as he can move back to Yellowknife once a spot opens up here.

Rideout said it could be some time before placement could be found here in Yellowknife for him, potentially a year or longer.

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