NEWS

Big Brothers volunteer gets 2 years in sex abuse case

11/26/2013 03:59 EST | Updated 01/26/2014 05:59 EST
A former volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Newfoundland has been sentenced to two years in prison on sex-related charges involving two pre-teen boys, one of whom he mentored for three years.

The former Big Brother pleaded guilty to three charges in Newfoundland and Labrador provincial court on Tuesday afternoon — touching for a sexual purpose and two counts of invitation to sexual touching of a person under the age of 16. The Crown withdrew two other charges.

The second victim was a family friend of the boy, who was staying at his house for a night this past summer.

“There’s a breach of trust in this particular case,” Crown prosecutor Jason House told the court, referring to the man’s role as a Big Brother.

“He’s taken advantage of that situation.”

CBC News is not identifying the man, because doing so could potentially reveal the identity of his victims, whose identities are protected by a publication ban.

According to a victim impact statement read to the court, the man's former Little Brother said he is afraid to go to sleep and wakes up screaming and yelling.

The Crown and defence agreed on a joint sentencing submission of two years behind bars, plus a probation term of three years and the man's name will be listed on the sex offender registry for 20 years.

The former Big Brother will also be barred from areas where there are children under the age of 16.

Newfoundland and and Labrador provincial court Judge Lois Skanes accepted the joint sentencing submission.

Skanes noted that it will take the former Little Brother a long time to get over what happened to him.

Prior fraud conviction

Last month, a CBC News investigation revealed that the former Big Brother had a fraud conviction dating back to 2006.

Big Brothers Big Sisters defended its screening process, noting that fraud is not on the list of crimes that bar someone from becoming a volunteer with the organization.

In October, Big Brother Big Sisters of Canada's national president said officials will take a closer look to see if changes should be made to screening policies.

“In our 38-year history operating in the province, this is the most difficult situation Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Newfoundland has ever faced,” executive director Kelly Leach noted in an emailed statement to CBC News on Tuesday.

“We are dismayed and deeply saddened.”

Meanwhile, the mother of the former Little Brother has also filed a civil suit on behalf of her son.

That lawsuit names his abuser and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Newfoundland as defendants, and seeks damages.

The civil matter is scheduled to be back in court later this week.

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