A man who pleaded guilty to a single charge of gross indecency against his 11-year-old stepdaughter was sentenced on Wednesday to four years, eight months in prison.
Justice Charles Quin said the appropriate sentence was seven years, but he gave a one-third discount for the early guilty plea.
He said there was an urgent need for deterrence because of the increasing prevalence of sex offenses against young children.
The maximum sentence is 12 years.
Justice Quin directed the man to sign up for the prison’s sex offenders program and a “Fathers First” program. He also ordered that the man receive expert medical attention. The defendant, in his late 40s, is not being named because doing so would lead to the identification of the victim.
Justice Quin noted that the girl’s mother reported that the child was doing well in school and looked forward to going to high school, so she seemed unaffected by what had happened.
The girl’s mother was in Cayman on work permit. She and the defendant were married four days before the offense occurred. The girl, who had come to visit her mother during a school holiday, seemed to get on well with the defendant.
On the evening before she was scheduled to leave the island, she asked to spend the night at a cousin’s house.
The defendant told her to stay home because he would not have enough gas to drive her to her relative’s house and then to the airport the next day. She started to cry, so he took her to the relative’s house.
About an hour and a half later he phoned and asked her about “cleaning up a mess” she had left behind. He came and got her to take her home to clean it up. She begged her sister to come along, but the sister said no. The girl got into the back seat of the defendant’s car. The sister then called out that she was coming, and the girl asked the defendant to stop the car, but he wouldn’t.
He did not take the girl home; instead, he took her to a dark secluded place. He went into the back seat and inappropriately touched her.
She was crying and trying to fight him off, but he only stopped when she told him, “You go to church.” CCTV cameras showed the defendant’s car passing into the area at 10:35 p.m. and leaving at approximately 11 p.m. He took her home. She was crying and her mother asked if he had done anything to her. The girl was taken to hospital and then to the police station. She took police along the route the defendant had driven.
The man was arrested and admitted what he had done.
He said his mind was telling him to go and molest the child: “I wasn’t in control of myself. I couldn’t stop myself … I’m extremely remorseful. It was like Satan just had me,” he told officers.
When the matter came to court in December, defense attorney Nicholas Dixey emphasized that the defendant’s full cooperation and early plea had spared the victim from giving evidence.
A social inquiry report showed that the man suffered from ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and depression. He had received a psychological assessment, but not a psychiatric evaluation. He had 60 previous convictions for a variety of offenses such as disorderly conduct and theft.
In 2009 he was sentenced to three years for rape. [Records kept by the Compass show that the victim was his ex-wife and he pleaded guilty.]
The defendant had been sexually abused as a child and Justice Quin commented that these things had a way of repeating themselves.
He said the defendant was in a position of trust, which he had abused. Another aggravating feature had been the deliberate isolation of the victim.
The judge accepted the man’s expression of remorse and noted that his wife was standing by him.
He urged the defendant to use his time in prison well and not be afraid to seek help.