Emotions run high as sexual assault suspect makes court appearance
Published Tuesday, October 22, 2013 7:01PM ADT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 22, 2013 7:18PM ADT
There was an emotional outburst in an Amherst courtroom Tuesday morning as a retired jail guard accused of sexually assaulting an underage, intellectually-challenged girl appeared in court for sentencing.
Despite a joint recommendation from the Crown and defence, the judge has delayed sentencing so a pre-sentence report can be done.
Ron Thibodeau, 60, was charged with the sexual assault and sexual interference of an underage girl, dating back to April 2012.
In a joint recommendation from his lawyer and the Crown, the interference charge was dropped and he would be sentenced to 18 months of probation for the assault.
Crown attorney Mary Ellen Nurse says it was the safest way to get a conviction, while protecting the young girl.
“The victim in this instance has already been through one closed circuit, screened, interviewed before the court,” says Nurse. “She herself is recovering from this. We have a plea in the works and a plea of guilt.”
The court heard the girl is intellectually challenged and Thibodeau fondled her on a couch while they watched TV.
Several people exploded with anger and had to be removed from the courtroom when the defence described sentences handed out in other, similar crimes.
“They think they can do whatever they want and not be charged?” says court spectator Ronnie Downing. “No, I don’t think that’s right, and then they get a minimum sentence? No, that’s not right."
“It makes me sick to my stomach that these victims aren’t being given true justice for what’s being done to them,” says court spectator Tammy Rogers.
The judge told the court he would not sentence Thibodeau until a pre-sentence report has been completed, to give him more information about the accused.
It is expected the pre-sentence report will take four to six weeks to complete.
Thibodeau’s sentencing has now been set for Dec. 12.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Dan MacIntosh