Warning: This story contains graphic content that may be disturbing to some readers
A Penticton man was handed a three-year sentence on Aug. 2 for his recent conviction of sexual interference of a 13-year-old Kelowna girl in 2016.
Robert Russel Joseph Morin, 26, was convicted in June of sexual interference of a person under the age of 16 and invitation to sexual touching to a person under 16. According to evidence disclosed in court, he was 23 at the time of the acts and connected with the teenager through a dating app, and continued the relationship through social media, despite being made aware of her age.
Court also heard that the pair engaged in “sexting” and sharing explicit images with one another, and then in Oct. 2016, Morin and another man drove to Kelowna to bring the girl, and her under aged friend, back to Penticton to stay with them at the Granada Inn. Crown counsel said the girls stayed with the men for approximately one week before police intervened and returned the girls home.
Crown went on to state that throughout the week, Morin and the girl used both marijuana and crystal meth, and engaged in vaginal sex three times and anal sex once, the latter which resulted in an alleged injury to the girl. Both the Crown and defence noted that there was no evidence provided of this alleged injury, though she was required to stay in the psychiatric ward of the Kelowna General Hospital for a period of one month following the assault.
Morin was arrested in 2017 and was later found in violation of his bail order in 2018, which prevented him from coming into contact with individuals under 16, when it was discovered he was living with a woman and her two children, who were both under the age of 16. He also incurred five more convictions while on bail including assault, breach of probation, escaping lawful custody and breach of undertaking.
Morin was arrested again and has been in custody since Jan. 14, 2019, and Crown counsel sought a sentence between the two-to-six year range, with a preference for a longer sentence. Defence attorney James Pennington pushed for a two-year sentence with probation, due to Morin’s troubled upbringing.
While the victim did not submit an impact statement to aid in the court’s decision, Judge Austin Cullin said he did not find a two-year sentence to be suitable as the assault will likely have a lasting impact on the teen. Accounting for time already served, Morin now has two years and 58 days left in his sentence.
Following his release, Morin will be registered as a sex offender for life and will be required to avoid contact with children for five years.
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