Nunavut judge finds Clyde River man guilty on booze-for-sex invitation to minor
Nick Illauq, 35, still faces sentencing hearing
Nick Illauq, 35, a well-known community leader in Clyde River, is guilty on one count of invitation to sexual touching for offering liquor to a person under the age of 16 in exchange for sex, Justice Robert Kilpatrick ruled in a written judgment distributed July 22.
Kilpatrick found Illauq not guilty on five other sex offences, all of which flowed from two incidents in early 2010 that involved liquor, vehicles and Illauq’s attempts to have sex with a 14-year-old girl. (See full text of judgment embedded below.)
Kilpatrick has not yet given a sentencing decision. In 2010, those found guilty by summary conviction on such a charge under section 152 of the Criminal Code faced a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 14 days, with a maximum of 18 months. In 2012, that mandatory minimum penalty was raised to 90 days.
Illauq, 35, has served as a hamlet councillor and deputy mayor of Clyde River and is the creator of the popular Facebook group, Nunavut Hunting Stories of the Day.
Through his membership in a climate change committee, he represented Nunavut on an international group called Many Strong Voices, work that took him to meetings in such places as Washington, D.C.
Illauq was tried on the six charges this past June 24, when two young witnesses, the complainant and her sister, testified through a video link before a hearing held in Iqaluit.
There, they described the two incidents, which occurred in February and March 2010.
In the first, the young complainant, known only as LAQ, said Illauq, while driving a red truck, offered a ride to her and her sister.
But instead of taking them to their grandparent’s house, he drove out of town to Clyde River’s airport runway, where he pulled out a bottle of home brew and offered drinks to the two girls.
LAQ, who had turned 14 in January of 2010, told court that Illauq, who was 32 at the time, asked the young teenaged girls, who sat side-by-side on the front seat of the truck, to trade places so she could sit beside him.
After that, LAQ told court that Illauq, after offering alcohol, asked her to be his “secret” girlfriend. She also said he tried to kiss her and fondle the upper part of her legs, but she used her hands to push him away.
That incident ended when another vehicle arrived. Illauq started up his red truck, which wasn’t supposed to be on the runway, and left the area.
But the other witness, LAQ’s sister, known only as “LQ,” couldn’t corroborate key parts of LQ’s story.
LQ told court she couldn’t hear Illauq’s conversation with LAQ and didn’t see any of the touching that LQ had described.
For that reason, Kilpatrick found Illauq not guilty on each of three charges based on that incident: sexual assault, sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching.
“There may be moral turpitude in the defendant supplying, or offering to supply alcohol to 14 year old females, but the evidence related to the sexual offences is not sufficient to advance the Crown’s case to prove beyond a reasonable doubt,” Kilpatrick wrote in his judgment.
In the second incident, which occurred March 5, LAQ ended up alone with Illauq in a vehicle that belonged to the Hamlet of Clyde River.
Illauq, who was driving the hamlet vehicle around town with a 60-ounce bottle of Smirnoff vodka, drove LAQ to a secluded spot near the gas station in Clyde River.
LAQ told court that Illauq offered her vodka in exchange for sex and again tried to fondle her.
The incident ended when Illauq’s girlfriend showed up, opened the vehicle door, and punched LAQ in the face.
In that incident, Kilpatrick found Illauq not guilty of sexual assault and sexual interference.
But he did find him guilty of invitation to sexual touching.
“The court is satisfied on the basis of all the evidence that this young complainant did hear the defendant make a verbal offer to her to exchange alcohol for sex. She was shocked by this comment. It left her speechless,” Kilpatrick said.
Kilpatrick also rejected malicious rumours about LAQ that circulated at the time in Clyde River and said they have no bearing on her credibility.
“This young complainant has emphatically asserted under oath that there has never been any substance to the rumours being circulated against her in the community of Clyde River,” Kilpatrick wrote.
“The court will not base an adverse finding of credibility upon shadowy gossip that routinely circulates in a small community following the laying of a criminal charge.”
Illauq is one of several Clyde River men who face sex charges in relation to disclosures made by two severely traumatized young girls who received treatment at a residential care centre in Saskatchewan.
The two girls have left Clyde River and now live in another Nunavut community.