An Abbotsford man was sentenced last week in B.C. Supreme Court in Chilliwack to two years in prison for sexual offences involving two young girls.
Shaun Michael Sloat, 34, was previously convicted after a four-day trial of two counts of sexual assault and one count of sexual interference of a person under 14, dating back to 2007.
He had originally been charged with three additional offences – another count of sexual interference and two counts of administering a noxious substance – but those were stayed.
Abbotsford Police Det. Kevin Murray, the officer who investigated the case after the girls came forward in 2009, said the convictions are considered a “major victory to youth victims of sexual exploitation by older males.”
He said the two girls were “couch-surfing street youths” at the time and were vulnerable to the attentions of an older man.
Sloat would hold parties at his home in Abbotsford and would allegedly supply drugs and alcohol to youth who attended, Murray said.
He said Sloat began grooming one of the girls when she was just 11 years old by showering her with gifts and affection.
He told her he loved her and bought her a puppy, which he used to emotionally manipulate her.
“Whenever she threatened to leave, he would beat the puppy or threaten to kill it,” Murray said.
Sloat would also threaten to commit suicide, he added.
The other girl was about 15 when she became involved with Sloat.
“She was made to believe she was important and special to him and that other girls didn’t matter,” Murray said.
Both relationships became sexual, and the girls did not realize they had been victimized until they each confided in a street outreach worker, Sorina Gibson, in 2009.
The girls consented to reporting the circumstances to police, and Gibson accompanied them when they met with Murray.
He commended the two girls for their courage in coming forward and testifying at the trial, resulting in Sloat’s conviction.
Murray said he hopes their strength encourages other victims – either of Sloat or other offenders – to come forward.
This is the second such case involving Sloat. Two other girls came forward in 2008, and he went to trial on sexual offence charges against them, but was acquitted.
According to the provincial court database, Sloat has an extensive criminal record in Abbotsford, including previous convictions for assault, drug possession, uttering threats, possession of stolen property and theft.