WINNIPEG — A 20-year-old man who was just 10 years old when he was sexually assaulted by convicted pedophile Peter Whitmore says he hopes his newfound freedom to share his story will help other survivors.
Zachary Miller and his family fought to have a publication ban that protected his identity lifted, something that Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench agreed to do in late December.
Miller was 10 when he and a 14-year-old boy from Manitoba were kidnapped from near his family farm and sexually assaulted by Whitmore in July 2006.
Whitmore, who had been convicted of sexually assaulting several other children before the Saskatchewan abduction, was given a life sentence.
He became eligible to apply for parole in 2013, but has turned down two opportunities to make the application.
Miller says going public has not been easy, but he hopes it can help other survivors heal.
"It did feel like I was being silenced," he explains. "It felt like I was losing my right to my own freedom of speech. I felt a victim under the court."
The Canadian Centre for Child Protection helped the Millers in court and with their healing journey.
"We used this opportunity with them to be able to tell an important story so we could start raising awareness about what we see as a very, very significant risk to children," says Lianna McDonald.
Miller says he hopes to be able to work with other survivors of child sexual assault.
"Their voice is powerful, and they can use it and stand up," he says. "They're not alone out there."
He and his parents are also petitioning the federal government for tougher sentencing and release rules for people convicted of child sexual assault.
The Canadian Press