02/08/2013 10:05 EST | Updated 04/10/2013 05:12 EDT

Court delays worse than molesting of girl, mother says

The mother of six-year-old Newfoundland and Labrador girl who was molested three years ago said repeated delays in bringing a guilty man to justice have been more harmful than the crime itself.

Reg O'Keefe, 66, was sentenced on Thursday in St. John's to one year in jail, but will serve less than that because of time already served.

"She very, very clearly illustrated for the police on the floor with two teddy bears what he did to her, and I am not joking when I say I go to bed every night with that image in my head," said the mother.

She added, however, that her daughter was further traumatized because she was called to testify five times, but was sent home repeatedly.

"Whatever reason or excuse that he and his lawyer could come up with, to delay the process, they did it," the mother told CBC News.

"Not once did anyone sit down and think, 'How this was impacting a three-year-old child?' More damage has been done to her in the last three years than was done to her that day."

She said that being required to prepare for court forced her daughter to relive the original trauma, and that her recovery will be lengthier than it would have been otherwise.