Summerland man gets six months for sexual exploitation

Joshua James Roberts was sentenced to six months in jail and two years of probation on Wednesday in Penticton Provincial Court.

Joshua James Roberts is led to by Penticton Sheriffs outside the Penticton Courthouse after being sentenced to six months for sexual exploitation.

Joshua James Roberts is led to by Penticton Sheriffs outside the Penticton Courthouse after being sentenced to six months for sexual exploitation.

A Summerland businessman has received six months in jail for sexual exploitation involving a minor.

Joshua James Roberts, 39, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual exploitation on March 23 in Penticton Provincial Court and was sentenced on Sept. 30.

The incidents spanning from Sept. 15, 2012 to Aug. 15, 2013 involved a person under 18 whose identity is protected by a routine publication ban.

Roberts, a father of six, said nothing throughout the sentencing and showed little emotion after hearing the sentence. He hugged his mother and shook his father’s hand before being taken into custody.

Ed Stacey, national president of the Urban Bulldogs Against Kids Abuse association, who provide support to young victims and victim’s families, read a statement from the family of the victim to the media outside of the Penticton Courthouse Wednesday.

“The victim and (their) parents have been through hell at the hands of a predator and are all victims (of) this convicted sex offender,” Stacey said.

The parents of the victim said in the statement they were grateful for the support from the Summerland RCMP, the Okanagan Victim’s Assistance Society and the Urban Bulldogs Against Kids Abuse.

“They hope this encourages other victims of abuse to come forward against the person or persons who have hurt them. That’s the only way we’re going to stop this epidemic of child abuse in which we live,” Stacey said.

The family said in the statement they were proud of their child for persevering through the ordeal and “exposing the sexual crimes of a prominent member of the community.”

The sentence is three months over the mandatory minimum of 90 days in jail for sexual exploitation. Defence counsel for Roberts, Tyrone Duerr suggested a sentence of 90 days to be served intermittently on weekends.

Prior to the charges coming to light, Judge Greg Koturbash said that Roberts had an “excellent reputation in the community.”

He noted that Roberts had helped with reading programs in the local school district and volunteered his time at local junior hockey games. He was also responsible for the hiring and training of over 200 young people.

“Crimes against children are always committed behind closed doors. Although I agree with counsel that Mr. Roberts actions were opportunistic rather than predatory, it was his good character that persuaded (the victim’s father) to place his trust in Mr. Roberts,” Koturbash said.

Roberts was also ordered not to contact the victim and not to occupy a position of trust involving a female under the age of 18. He was also ordered to submit to the Sex Offender Information Registration Act which requires offenders to submit to the national sex offender registry.