Ex-RCMP officer sentenced to 15 years for torturing son

CTV Ottawa
Published Wednesday, April 12, 2017 10:33AM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, April 12, 2017 7:18PM EDT

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An ex-RCMP officer was sentenced to 15 years in prison today for torturing and sexually abusing his young son. And with that, the doors to this boy's own prison finally opened; the healing can begin.

It has taken more than four years for this victim to get justice.  With time served, his father will spend 13 years and 2 months in jail. For the boy, who is now 15, it will take a lifetime to heal.

 For the police officers who interviewed and later befriended this little boy:

“I just couldn't fathom a parent or one of us doing something like that,” a teary-eyed Detective Johanne Marelic said outside court today.

For the Crown who fought to bring him justice:

“It's been four years and 17 weeks from start to finish,” added Crown Prosecutor Marie Dufort.

This has been a long and very emotional trial.

“Being a parent, it's unimaginable to see this type of harm visited on someone who you have a duty to love and care for,” said Crown Prosecutor Michael Boyce.

Justice Robert Maranger said in terms of abuse, this case was on the extreme end of the spectrum.  The boy had chained in his father's basement, starved, sexually abused, even burned.  Still, the boy initially defended his father to police.

“What he soon would come to realize,” Justice Maranger said, “Is the terrible truth:  that his father stole from him the precious gift of the memories of his childhood and of a family.”

The case had such a strong impact on those involved, Sergeant Tracy Butler, who had retired last year from the Ottawa Police Services, needed to see it through to the end.

“It's a case that is very close to my heart,” Butler said outside court, “and it was horrific and I felt I owed it to this child to continue on, day after day.  Ultimately, I just wanted to put this person in jail.”

Detective Johanne Marelic recalled first meeting the boy at CHEO in February of 2013, after his remarkable escape from the shackles in his basement.  He was 11 years old, weighed 51 pounds, scarred, battered, but remarkably, not broken.

“The one positive thing is that I have a new friend in my life,” Detective Marelic said, “and we are lucky to know him.  He's a remarkable little man.”

The Crown had sought a 23 year sentence.   The organization Bikers Against Child Abuse or BACA, who attended this trial from the beginning, said even that wouldn't have been enough but that 15 years fell far short.

Titan is the President of BACA, “I have all the respect for Judge Maranger,” he told reporters, “but our laws need to change because that's not near enough for what this man has done to his child.”

The boy had a message for his father which was read in court by Detective Marelic, “You always used to tell me that 2 and 2 equal 4, but if you took all the multiples of 4, it still wouldn't add up to all the people that care for me and are now in my life, and if one day, you stop thinking about yourself, you may realize how wrong what you did was.”

Police confirmed today that the RCMP fired this former counter-terrorism expert December 11, 2016. 

The man was arrested in 2013 when his son was 11 years old.

Court heard the boy nearly starved to death during his captivity, which left him chained and shackled, often naked, in an unfinished basement.

Ottawa Police investigators referred to the case as one of the worst cases of child abuse they had ever seen.

In November, the father was found guilty of aggravated assault, sexual assault causing bodily harm, forcible confinement and failing to provide the necessaries of life.

The man's wife was also found guilty of assault with a weapon and failing to provide the necessaries of life in November and was later given a three-year sentence.

With files from the Canadian Press

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