A Supreme Court Justice has sentenced a Port Alberni man to 22 months in jail for two counts of sexual assault involving young girls.
Justice Lauri Fenlon handed down the sentence to William Rennie in the Port Alberni Federal Court on Tuesday morning.
Fenlon further sentenced Rennie to one year’s probation, a 10-year weapons prohibition, and to have no contact with his victims or their mother.
Rennie was also ordered to supply a sample of his DNA to the federal data bank, to not hold a position of authority with children for 20 years, and to register as a sex offender for life.
It is Rennie’s first conviction for a sex charge but he gets a lifetime sex offender registration because the incident involved two victims and two separate sexual assault charges, Crown prosecutor Christina Proteau said.
Rennie was originally convicted of the offenses in October 2012.
The Crown sought a 24-month jail sentence and three years’ probation. Rennie’s lawyer asked for 12 to 18 months incarceration at a provincial institution for sex offenders where there is treatment and no threats of violence to inmates.
Pre-sentence and forensic assessment reports read aloud in court noted that Rennie had a history of lying, substance abuse, and mental health issues which required a psychiatric stay in hospital in 2009. The report also noted that Rennie was considered a moderate to moderately high risk to re-offend.
Rennie was convicted of spousal assault in 2010 after slapping a girlfriend across the face twice and threatening to take her daughter to Parksville with him.
In her reasons for judgment, Fenlon noted that both of Rennie’s victims were minors (under age seven at the time of the offenses). She also found that the position of trust he was in when left with the girls was an aggravating factor in the offense.
In a statement of facts to the court, Proteau said the matter came to light after one of the victims disclosed her ordeal to RCMP over two statements starting in February 2011. The second victim described the same experiences over three different statements beginning in March 2011.
The disclosures had a common theme: the mother leaving them alone with Rennie, whom she had an intimate relationship with, while she went to work. Rennie then sexually touched and kissed, and on one occasion displayed full frontal nudity to the girls as he walked to the bathroom.
The girls’ and their families’ lives have been disrupted, Proteau said. “They should have been in school and just living the lives of regular six-year olds,” she said. “There may have been no threats or violence. But the sexual assault of a child is inherently violent.”