A couple who sexually assaulted their teenage daughter, saying they were trying to educate her about sex through activity the dad termed as “family fun,” have been sentenced to prison.
The man was sentenced July 30 in Abbotsford provincial court to six years in jail for sexual assault. The woman was sentenced to four years for sexual assault and nine months for obstructing justice.
The pair cannot be named, due to a publication ban that protects the identity of the victim.
The court was told that the parents coerced their daughter, starting at the age of 13, to participate in sexual activity with them.
“They did so under the guise of supposedly educating their child about sex, convincing her that it would be best for them to demonstrate sexual activity in the child’s presence,” said Judge Kenneth Skilnick in his ruling.
The assault included the father taking his daughter’s virginity. The mother also participated in the abuse, often as the father watched.
The court was told that the abuse occurred frequently over a period of about three years. The offences came to light in 2013, when the Ministry of Children and Family Development became aware of the situation, and the Abbotsford Police Department started an investigation.
The parents were charged and the child was placed in foster care, but when she later ran into her mother at a local store, the mom told her daughter that if the matter went to trial, she should lie about what happened.
A trial was avoided when the couple later pleaded guilty to their charges.
In their pre-sentence reports, the pair both said they had been raised in homes with alcoholic fathers and had been sexually abused as children – the man by an older boy and the woman by two cousins.
Both also suffered from depression and other mental health issues, the report indicated.
The parents each said they hoped their daughter would forgive them and that they could continue a relationship with her.
In a victim impact statement to the court, the daughter said she mourns the loss of both of her parents and of the love and nurturing they denied her.
“They have taken so much from me, a lot of which I will never get back. It saddens me that when I have kids they will grow up not knowing their grandparents … They are the only parents I will ever know and I will always love them,” she stated.
The judge said that despite the daughter having been “horribly betrayed by the two adults she trusted most to protect her,” she presents herself as a “very intelligent, articulate and thoughtful young woman.”
“Her courage in cooperating with the prosecution of these offences is inspiring. By doing so, she honours the many other children who are victimized and who are unable to protect themselves or speak up for themselves,” Skilnick added.