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Local man pleads guilty to sex offences against 13-year-old girl

Perpetrator was 18 when he sexually assaulted a young teen on two occasions; 'I hope no other girl has to go through what I did,' teenager wrote in victim impact statement
The Sault Ste. Marie Courthouse.

A young local man has been convicted of sex offences involving a 13-year-old girl that occurred more than two years ago.

Johnathan Dubois pleaded guilty last week to two counts of sexual interference when he appeared in a Sault Ste. Marie courtroom.

He admitted that he had touched a person under the age of 16 for a sexual purpose in March and April of 2021.

"I'm sorry for my actions and it will never happen again," he told the judge.

Dubois was 18 at the time, Ontario Court Justice Romuald Kwolelk heard. 

A publication ban prohibits reporting information that could identify the victim.

The girl contacted city police in July 2021, and described two incidents where Dubois took her for a ride in his vehicle.

The first sexual assault took place on March 31, the prosecutor told the court.

A couple of weeks later on Apri 11, Dubois again asked the girl to go for a ride with him.

"He assaulted her again," assistant Crown attorney Simran Singh said.

In a victim impact statement the prosecutor read to the court, the now 16-year-old described how Dubois' actions have affected her life and left her feeling "my childhood had been stolen from me."

She has nightmares, has been on medications and worries, not only for her own safety, but that of other young people.

"I hope no other girl has to go through what I did."

The Crown and defence lawyer Eric McCooeye negotiated a joint sentencing submission that reflects moral blameworthiness and the need for deterrence, Singh told the court.

"It's quite clear sex offences against children are highly aggravating," he said. 

The lawyers called for consecutive sentences of time served for each offence, plus three years probation.

Both sentences are each just a couple of days less than a year.

McCooeye said his now 21-year-old client is taking responsibility for his actions and is remorseful.

Dubois has been involved in cogent type of programming since August of last year.

"He has been in custody for a substantial period of time," the defence said, calling it "a significant sentence for a person 18 years of age with no adult record."

While in jail, he has been working in the laundry — "a position of privilege," McCooeye said. 

The defence isn't asking for a Gladue report, but Dubois is eligible for special provisions for his status, he told Kwolek.

When he imposed sentence, Kwolek called the nature of the offences and the impact Dubois had on the victim — a 13-year-old child — aggravating factors.

What occurred affected the girl's mental health and "every aspect" of her life, the judge told him.

"She will have to deal with this for the rest of her life."

His guilty pleas spared the girl from having to testify in court and are mitigating, Kwolek noted.

It would have been difficult for the victim to tell what had happened, "to get up on the stand to testify and be cross-examined."

With the enhanced credit of 1.5 days for each day he has spent in pre-trial custody, Dubois received a sentence of one day time served — the equivalent of 362 days — for the first offence.

For the second, his time behind bars is the equivalent of 363 days.

During his three-year probation — the maximum permitted under the Criminal Code — Dubois can have no contact with the victim and must remain 50 metres away from her.

He can have no contact with anyone under the age of 16, and must stay from parks, day cares centre, playgrounds and other such places.

Dubois must provide a DNA sample and is banned from possessing weapons for 10 years.

Kwolek also placed him on a five-year order with the same restrictions prohibiting him from going to a list of public places where children may be, and communicating with those under 16.

As well, Dubois can't be employed or volunteer anywhere he would be in a position of trust with young people.

At the request of the defence, the issue of a sex offender registry order was put over to Oct. 16 to be spoken to.

About the Author: Linda Richardson

Linda Richardson is a freelance journalist who has been covering Sault Ste. Marie's courts and other local news for more than 45 years.
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