A Canadian judge allowed a child abuser to walk free and avoid any jail time because he was a former military officer who claimed to have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from his time in combat. The name of the offender has not even been released to the public, apparently to protect the victim, which means that the victim is somehow related to the abuser, so revealing their identity would make the identity of the victim obvious.
Judge Mayland McKimm says that the case of the 60-year-old man meets the threshold of “truly exceptional circumstances,” allowing for a conditional sentence of 18 months probation and community service.
The abuser admitted to collecting 881 child abuse images on his devices and enthusiastically encouraging the exploitation of a young boy who was shown in many of the photos. The boy is reportedly the son of the common-law girlfriend of the abuser. According to court records, investigators obtained text messages between the abuser and his girlfriend, where they discussed exploiting her five-year-old son and traded explicit photos of the boy.
The text messages revealed detailed plans and excitement about the abuse that they were putting the young boy through, but the judge decided that the man was only “dabbling” in pedophilia, and that his PTSD could have been a “triggering factor” that pushed him towards risk-taking behavior. The judge also noted that even though the abuser was caught with the images on his devices, and orchestrated the whole situation, there is no evidence that he actually ever physically touched a child.
In sum, we are dealing with an individual who, for a relatively brief period of time, dabbled in the dark and odious world of child pornography and pedophilia. It was not a sustained and committed sexual practice, McKimm said, adding that the man has shown remorse and has a condition that would make prison “particularly difficult.”
The abuse was said to have taken place between February and April 2017, with the initial arrest occurring in December 2017. He moved in with the mother of the victim a few months before the abuse began. Over time, he tried to persuade the mother to force her 5-year-old boy to have a sexual encounter with an adult man. It is not clear who this man is, or if the encounter ever happened, but the victim’s father eventually discovered the text message exchanges between the mother of his child and her new boyfriend, and immediately notified police.
When the abuser was arrested, the man admitted to his crimes but claimed that he had “moved on from pedophilia.”
Despite the young age of the child and the severity of the charges, prosecutors were only seeking 10 months of jail plus probation, but the defense attorneys thought that any jail time was too much, and the judge agreed.
Judge McKimm ruled that:
“It is a well-known symptom that those who suffer from PTSD often turn to dangerous- and risk-seeking behaviours to combat the awful symptoms they suffer from PTSD. I am satisfied that the accused here was seeking out this risky and deplorable sexualized behaviour to deal with his symptoms.”
In addition to two years of probation, the abuser will be added to the sex offender registry for the next 20 years.