In Penticton’s courthouse Thursday morning, an Okanagan Falls man who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting his underage step-daughter claimed the abuse was solely in 2015, when the girl was 15 years old. The girl testified last week that the abuse had been going on since she was just 10 years old. Dustin Godfrey/Western News

OK Falls man denies majority of sex assault on underage step-daughter

Okanagan Falls man said abuse was solely in 2015, while the victim testified it had gone from 2010 to 2016

A man who pleaded guilty to sexual assault against his underage step-daughter in Okanagan Falls has denied the vast majority of the accusations.

The man, who cannot be named due to a publication ban, was accused of several years of sexually assaulting his step-daughter, starting when the daughter was just 10 years old until she was 16. He has been in jail since 2016, after the girl’s young sister said something to her grandmother.

The man had entered a guilty plea to one count each of sexual assault and sexual interference of a minor, but a sentencing hearing turned into a mini-trial after discrepancies arose between defence and prosecutors on the duration of the abuse.

Related: Okanagan Falls victim testifies on years of sexual abuse from step-father

The man told the court the abuse solely occurred in “a short period in 2015,” when the girl was 15 years old. Asked by defence lawyer James Pennington if anything could have been occurring in 2013 or 2014, he said “Not that I can recall.”

“(The mother) was home. We did everything together. (The mother) and I did everything together; we were inseparable,” the man said.

During the early years, on when the mother was working evenings and weekends, the abuser said the victim and her sister would stay at the grandmother’s place.

“(The mother) wouldn’t be able to do anything with them at night. It was just easier if they were at grandma’s,” the man said, adding he wouldn’t be the one to pick the girls up.

When pressed by Crown lawyer Nashina Devji, the man said he never spent any time alone with the girls, despite living in the same house.

In a back-and-forth with the man, Devji posed a situation in which the mother went grocery shopping without him, but the man said the girls would go shopping with the mother, while the newborn boy — the girls’ half-brother — would stay with him.

“You were their step-dad. Why wouldn’t you just say ‘don’t worry about the girls,’” Devji asked.

“(The mother) never thought that it was right that I would stay home and watch somebody else’s kids,” the man countered.

When pressed by Devji, the man said he would sometimes spend 10 minutes alone with the girls.

“(The mother) was in a common law or marriage-like relationship with you in 2009, 2010. You guys had a child together. You have taken on the role of stepdad to (the girls). You helped (the girls) with their homework,” Devji said.

“I’m having a hard time understanding this. You were never alone with (the girls) for any period of time, even though you were their stepdad, lived in the home. And you were the spouse of their mother, the father of the biological brother.”

The man said when they arrived to a new house, in late 2013, was when he began to spend some time alone with the girls.

Much of the defence’s case rested on an exhaustive review of his work schedule, as he regularly worked away from Okanagan Falls, in places like Fort St. John or Fort Nelson, including an 80-day run in 2016.

When asked by Devji about a seven-day stretch that he wasn’t working in that 80-day run, the man said he did not come home to be with the family. He said he stayed at a work friend’s place in Grande Prairie, saying it was too expensive to travel.

He maintained that it was too expensive to travel during that break, despite Devji noting the man had come home on every other seven-day break from work.

Asked the name of his friend that he stayed with, the man struggled with a surname, suggesting a name he said he was “not positive” about.

The girl had also accused him of raping her on the May long weekend in 2016, when she was 16 years old, while they went on an ATV ride on a camping trip, which the man didn’t entirely disagree with.

“We did go for a ride, we did go to the top of the hill. I got off, went for a pee. When I got back, she was already off the four-wheeler. We looked around, she gave me a hug. Things began from there,” he said.

Following the short trial over that dispute, sentencing dispositions were to be submitted, with no decision expected by the end of the day Thursday.

Report a typo or send us your tips, photos and video.

Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

@dustinrgodfrey

Send Dustin an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

LETTER: Thanks to all who ran in election

To those that were elected, I look forward to your collective stewardship

Kettle Valley Steam Railway holds train ride of terror

Summerland tourist train will have Halloween-themed events

Ballet Kelowna to kick off 16th season with pair of premiers

Fresh off performances in Beijing and Toronto, company will perform at KCT Nov. 16 and 17

LETTER: Support candidates who will assist cannabis industry

Cannabis has often provided extra income for fruit growers or paid the bills for students

COLUMN: Life is So Good: A biography to remember

George Dawson was African American at a time of great racial discrimination

B.C. sailor surprised by humpback whale playing under her boat

Jodi Klahm-Kozicki said the experience was ‘magical’ near Denman Island

VOTE: Nature in Focus reader’s choice photo contest

The Penticton Western News Reader’s Choice photo contest

Who is running in Summerland’s election?

Introducing you to the candidates asking for your vote on Oct. 20

Ovechkin has 4 points as Caps rough up Canucks 5-2

WATCH: Defending champs pick up impressive win in Vancouver

World Junior Hockey fever hits Vernon

Vipers spice up floor ball demonstration at OK Landing School

Shuswap refugee family settles into new, more hopeful life

Father of 10th Syrian family to come to Salmon Arm says learning English, work, top priorities

RCMP seek missing Vernon man

Michael Ramsey, 49, was last seen Oct. 21

B.C. government moves to tighten resource industry regulations

New superintendent will oversee engineers, biologists, foresters

Most Read