Former Education Assistant, Katherine Kitts, sentenced to 14 months in jail
A shocked and tearful Katherine Kitts was handcuffed and taken into custody after an Ottawa judge sentenced her to 14-months in jail.
“Obviously I’m disappointed with the sentence,” Kitts’ lawyer Susan Chapman told reporters outside the courthouse, “she’s a very remorseful accused and she got a very significant custodial sentence.”
In what’s being considered a strong message to both female and male educators, Justice Celynne Dorval handed down, the maximum jail sentence laid out by the Crown Attorney. The Crown had asked for a sentence of 12 to 14-months in jail, Kitts’ lawyer had wanted a 90-day intermittent sentence.
“The breach of trust in this matter is significant,” said Justice Dorval in her ruling, “Neither the gender of the offender nor that of the victim bears any relevance to the principles of sentencing. I accept the victim’s statement that it hurts boys as much as girls.”
Kitts pleaded guilty in March to one count of sexual exploitation. The former Sir Robert Borden High School Education Assistant, admitted to having sexual intercourse over a two year period with one of her students who she was helping with a learning disability.
“She provided her cellular telephone number to the victim, he was 15 years old at the time,” Justice Dorval told the court, “her abuse of that position placed him in an impossible situation. Her breach of trust towards the parent of the victim and society at large has very real and long-lasting effects.”
Chapman had called her client “a woman who made a big mistake”. In letters to Justice Dorval before sentencing, Kitts’ supporters claimed the sexual relationship was “out of character” and that she had suffered a “lapse in judgement”.
In her sentencing Justice Dorval told the court, “this cannot be characterized as a lapse of judgement. Ms. Kitts wasn’t questioning her judgement during 15,000 text messages? There were repeated sexual encounters in different settings. Ms. Kitts at one point brought an inflatable mattress in her van. This planning is inconsistent with lapse in judgment. This was a sustained decision to use this victim as a result of her own emotional needs.”
The mother of the victim says, “I believe that justice has been served. Hopefully the strength of our judicial system in this ruling will spare others from suffering through future, similar crimes. We are happy that this is over. We will now be able to begin to put this past us and move forward in life.”
Kitts was sentenced to 14 months in jail followed by two years’ probation. She must also provide the court with her DNA as she is now on the Sexual Offender Registry for the next 20 years.