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Man gets 20 years in autistic boy's beating

LONDON, Ont. - A man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for the savage beating of a 12-year-old autistic boy at the London, Ont., facility where he worked.

The sentence was handed down Tuesday to Greg Simard, 25, at the London courthouse.

Simard had pleaded guilty earlier this year to four charges including attempted murder in connection to the vicious assault outside the Child and Parent Resource Institute in London in September 2012.

The Crown had asked for a life sentence, while Simard’s lawyer suggested a prison term of six to 10 years.

Simard, who was a contract employee at the institute, admitted he led the boy with severe autism away from his room at the facility and into a wooded area where he brutally beat him until he thought he was dead.

The child would go on to spend almost 200 days in hospital receiving treatment for permanent brain damage and other severe injuries.

Earlier in the case, Justice Jeanine Leroy ruled Simard criminally responsible for the savage assault despite a mental disorder of some kind.

Psychiatric experts had differing opinions on an exact diagnosis, but Leroy accepted evidence that Simard’s illness was made worse by his drug use and he understood what he was doing was wrong.

Through their victim impact statements, the child’s mother, father and sister all recounted how the horrific event has affected them.

“I am an emotional wreck,” said the boy’s mother as she choked back tears. She described the first few days after the attack on her son as “agonizing.”

She and other family members sobbed as she read out details of how battered, broken and bruised the child was.

The boy's father said he and his wife are haunted by questions about what will happen to their son as he grows older, how they’ll afford to pay for his care and who will look after him when they no longer can.

(CFPL)

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