Saskatoon man awaits sentencing for sexually assaulting babysitter

A man who sexually assaulted his children’s teenage babysitter after giving her alcohol while sitting naked in a hot tub says he wonders how he let himself get into that situation.

“I honestly never thought anything was going to happen,” Kelly Wallbank told Queen’s Bench Justice Peter Foley at his sentencing hearing Tuesday.

Foley will hand down his sentence June 16.

Crown prosecutor Buffy Rodgers asked for two years less one day and three years probation, saying the crime was predatory in nature.

Wallbank picked up watermelon-flavoured coolers for the occasion at his home, he suggested they not wear bathing suits and then sat alone in the tub with the 15-year-old for two or three hours before the assault, Rodgers said.

“These things can be described as careful grooming for victimization,” she said.

The assault, which involved digital penetration, was “not trivial,” Rogers said.

It was a major sexual assault that had a significant effect upon the victim, who immediately broke up with her boyfriend and became withdrawn and angry, Rodgers said. The girl then had to describe what happened to her at a preliminary hearing and in front of a jury at a trial, Rodgers said.

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The fact Wallbank was in a position of trust, power or authority over the girl is an aggravating factor to be considered in sentencing, she said.

As well, sexual assault falls into the category of serious personal injury offences and is thus not eligible for a conditional sentence to be served in the community, Rogers said.

Defence lawyer Darren Armitage said he was taken aback by the Crown’s contention his client was in a position of trust.

He didn’t think the matter was properly before the court because it was a “key feature before the jury” in the Crown’s argument during the trial.

Foley asked why he should not be able to consider the point in sentencing since it was clear from the evidence the victim was a babysitter.

“I didn’t come prepared to argue that,” Armitage said.

Foley told Armitage to provide case law supporting his position before sentencing in two weeks.

Armitage also said he was unprepared to deal with the Crown’s suggestion that the sexual assault conviction made his client ineligible for a community-based sentence.

Armitage asked for a sentence of three years probation.

Sentences must be comparable to those handed out to similar offenders in similar circumstances for similar crimes, so Armitage will have to provide case law to support his suggested sentence, Foley said.

The sentence must also denounce the crime and deter others from committing similar offences, Foley said.

“What about the general deterrence for the public in general? What message do you say should be passed out to the community?” Foley said.

Wallbank has “been thoroughly castigated” by the loss of his job and damage to his reputation, Armitage said.

“How much more ruined could he be? He’s an example,” Armitage said.

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