(Victoria Courthouse / B.C. Provincial Court))

Nearly 2,000 people have signed a petition to remove a convicted child sex offender from a townhouse strata complex in Langford.

The 60-year-old Canadian military veteran, who will not be named in order to safeguard the identity of his victims, was found guilty of possessing a total of 881 child pornography images between February and April 2017.

Last week, he was sentenced to 18 months of house arrest, two years of probation, and 20 years on the sex offender registry, after provincial court judge Mayland McKimm found that his crimes were partly a result of PTSD incurred after serving 33 years in the Canadian military.

The accused also admitted to encouraging the sexual exploitation of a five-year-old boy—the son of his partner and co-accused.

Details of the case

A series of text messages between the convicted sex offender and his partner detail his encouragement of her taking sexually explicit images of the child.

In those messages, the couple also discussed in detail how they hoped to sexually exploit the child in the future when they were both together in the same place—he had been deployed with the navy reserve at the time of the conversation in February 2017.

He had also encouraged his partner to find other young children in the neighbourhood that the two of them could abuse.

The court ruling says there is no evidence that the accused ever acted on his “sexually explicit ideation”. He had been living with his partner and her five-year-old son since August 2016 before he was deployed.

Eight months later, the father of the child (who shares custody of him with his mother) was using an iPad used by his mother to speak to the accused, and came across the sexually explicit conversation and images attached.

He called police, which prompted an investigation, arrest in December 2017, and subsequent trial.

According to the court ruling, Crown counsel normally would recommend seven to 10 months of jail time followed by 12 to 18 months of probation. However the judge cites extraordinary circumstances in issuing a sentence that involves no jail time.

“The accused is 60 years of age and has spent the majority of his working life as a member of our Canadian military. His career with the military was highly successful and he retired after 33 years having attained the rank of chief warrant officer, the highest rank available without being a commissioned officer,” reads the report.

“He served the vast majority of his service as a medical assistant. In that capacity he was deployed to seven different combat tours; two in Bosnia, three in Afghanistan, one in the Golan Heights and one in Somalia. In each of those theatres, he witnessed atrocities of war.”

The man’s behaviour was attributed in part to PTSD, based on a report submitted by forensic psychologist Dr. Bruce Monkhouse.

“Indeed it is this PTSD which is the central trigger which led both he and his co-accused to turn briefly to this dark and sinister sexual predilection. It is a well-known symptom that those who suffer from PTSD often turn to dangerous and risk seeking behaviours to combat the awful symptoms they suffer from the PTSD,” reads the ruling.

In sentencing, McKimm also notes that the accused suffers from “a serious and debilitating heart condition” which would make it difficult for him to serve jail time.

He has been served to 18 months of house arrest, followed by a probation period of two years, and 20 years on the sex offender registry during which he will be prohibited from attending a public park, public swimming area, daycare centre, school ground, playground or community centre where someone under the age of 16 might be present.

For two decades, the accused will also not be allowed within 100 m of anywhere his victim resides, attends school, or works. He is also banned from volunteering or working in a position that puts him in a position of trust or authority towards anyone under the age of 16.

The petition

After news of the sentencing broke, the Langford strata complex on Deville Road where the accused resides decided to take action.

A petition created by resident Lauren Cimarosti addresses Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor, Langford Mayor Stu Young, and the RCMP, and aims to have the convict removed from the neighbourhood.

“In court hearing he described the desire to go after neighbourhood children,” said Cimarosti in an email to Victoria Buzz.

“He now gets to serve out 18 months house arrest from the very house he was observing and planning to molest children from. His windows all face common strata property where the children play as well as the busy street.”

According to her petition, residents in the strata complex all received a letter on July 30 informing them of the convict’s presence in their neighbourhood.

“We were told to be vigilant and call 911 immediately if he was seen with a minor under 16 years old. The onus was on us to protect our children,” reads the petition.

As of the time of publication, it has been signed by 1,962 people.

Victoria Buzz has reached out to MP MacGregor and Mayor Young for comment.