Canada
Justice system protects sex offenders, not children, mother of abuse victim says

Credits: BRIAN DONOGH/QMI AGENCY

KARENA WALTER | QMI AGENCY

ST. CATHARINES, ON - A mother says she wants changes to the laws that protect the privacy of sex offenders after her eight-year-old daughter was abused by a man living in their apartment building.

"They do everything in their power to protect this man, not innocent victims," the woman, who didn't know her neighbour had a record, said outside court Thursday.

"When are they going to say we have to protect innocent children?"

Norman Warner, 53, was convicted of sexual interference and sentenced Thursday to 18 months in jail in addition to 139 days of time served. He was also sentenced to three years of probation.

"Very sorry for everything," he said in the prisoner's box before sentencing.

The court heard the girl lived in the same highrise building as Warner and came to his apartment to see his two young sons.

Warner sent the girl to the boys' bedroom, where he blindfolded her and performed a sexual act.
"I read the victim impact statement and I am left chilled again by what I read," Judge David Harris said.

He told Warner the girl went to his apartment because she thought it was a place she could go to play with other children and thought it was safe.

Harris said the one mitigating factor was that Warner entered a guilty plea, making it unnecessary for the girl to be re-victimized in a trial.

Assistant Crown attorney Holly Nickel said afterwards the girl's knowledge of what happened was limited because of the blindfold.

"Protecting the innocence of the victim was paramount to the Crown," she said about the plea agreement.

The girl's mother said she's glad her daughter didn't have to testify because she doesn't have a full understanding of what happened to her - and the mother wants to keep it that way.

In a victim impact statement, she said her daughter suffers nightmares and has trust issues now, particularly with male family members. Her daughter doesn't want to cuddle like she used to and her grades have dropped.

The mother said she herself has lost sleep and has lost all faith that the system protects children.
Warner had been on the sex offender registry, but it had expired when he was arrested for this offence.

He had prior convictions for similar offences in 1993 and and 2001.

The mother said she has contacted politicians' offices to advocate for change to the sex offender registry. She wants people to be able to find out where sex offenders live.

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