R v L.D., 2022 ONCJ 480

In June 2020, a 14 year old girl and her father moved into a home where the accused was living with her husband. She became suspicious of odd behaviour exhibited by the couple and accessed the accused’s Facebook messenger where she discovered Facebook messages between the woman and her husband sent between 2017 and 2019 which detailed explicit sexual abuse fantasies of the girl, her younger sister and their friend aged 10 to 16.

The girl took screenshots of the exchanges and turned them over to police. The accused and her husband were arrested, and further investigation by detectives with the internet child exploitation unit recovered a 59-second video on the accused’s cellphone that showed her calling a dog to perform a sex act on her.

The accused pleaded guilty to two counts: possession of child pornography and bestiality. A psychological assessment determined that she met the criteria for Dependant Personality Disorder and Substance Abuse Disorder, the latter she was actively in treatment for. She was assessed at a low risk to reoffend if sobriety and counselling were maintained. Although separated from her husband, who took the lead in the graphic detail of sexual abuse he wished to inflict on the girls, the judge determined from the exchanges that the accused was not a passive listener: that it was her who introduced the bestiality topic (para. 12).

The accused was sentenced to three months imprisonment in total: two months for possession of child pornography and one month consecutive for bestiality. The consecutive sentence for the animal abuse is noteworthy as the judge stated in the decision: “Canadians will be upset to learn how she mistreated a pet dog. Jail is needed to condemn her conduct” (para. 21).

The court also ordered two years’ probation, a two-year animal prohibition, an s 161 10-year prohibition against seeking or obtaining any employment or volunteer work involving a position of trust or authority over children under 16 and Internet use for child pornography or related chat rooms, and a victim fine surcharge of $200 for each count or two days in jail if defaulted. She was also subject to a DNA order, and a 20-year SOIRA order: it was originally a 10-year order, but the Crown proceeded by indictment, therefore on the same day the justice signed the initial order in error, he issued a new order reflecting the mandatory life order of 20 years.

The husband had pleaded guilty to making child pornography in the form of digital messages and was placed on three years of probation after serving the equivalent of 125 days in presentence custody in an earlier proceeding.