Nunavut judge convicts Taloyoak man for having sex with 12-year-old girl
Man, 20 at the time, did not ask about girl’s age
A Taloyoak man who had sex four times with a 12-year-old girl is guilty of sexual interference, judge Susan Charlesworth ruled in a written verdict published earlier this week.
Darren Pauloosie, who was 20 at the time, admitted to the court that, in January and February of 2017, he invited the girl over to his house late at night using Facebook Messenger and had sex with her on four occasions.
The crime of sexual interference, under section 151 of the Criminal Code, means the touching of any part of the body of a young person under the age of 16 for a sexual purpose.
Pauloosie said he honestly believed the girl was 16 or 17. For sex crimes involving underaged people, consent is not a defence.
In any criminal charge, the Crown has to prove two things beyond a reasonable doubt: that the accused did the unlawful act, and that the accused did so with a guilty mind.
That means the only disputed issue was whether the man was reckless about establishing the girl’s age before he had sex with her, Charlesworth said her judgment.
During the Pauloosie’s trial, which was held Jan. 15 in Taloyoak, defence lawyer Sally Paddock argued the man held an honest but mistaken belief about the girl’s age for several reasons.
Paddock argued the girl was physically bigger than Pauloosie, tried to make him believe she was 16 or 17, that she hung out with an older friend who Pauloosie thought was 16 or 17, that she was in a different grade than him at school, and that she went alone to his house at night.
Paddock also argued Pauloosie never saw the girl with siblings, younger people, or parents.
After the trial, Charlesworth rejected that defence, because Pauloosie never asked the girl for her age.
“That is the absolute least he was required to do before having sex with her, given his very limited knowledge of her,” she wrote in her judgment.
Charlesworth said the victim, like many children, wanted to act as if she were more mature than her age and exhibited the behaviour of a healthy, curious 12-year-old girl.
She should have been free from the threat of sexual exploitation from an adult when she exhibited such behaviour, the judge said.
Charlesworth did not say when Pauloosie will be sentenced.
Under the Criminal Code of Canada, the crime of sexual interference, when prosecuted by indictment as Pauloosie’s was, carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison and a minimum sentence of one year.