Laviolette given 30 months

Lori A. Mayne lmayne@journalpioneer.com
Published on December 20, 2007

The judge who gave Tony Joseph Laviolette federal time could find little reason for softer measures.

This, despite the fact Laviolette is just 19 years old.

Wednesday in Provincial Court, the Summerside teen received 30 months in custody for eight charges including sexual assault, uttering threats, two counts of arson, break and enter and other property offences.

SUMMERSIDE - The judge who gave Tony Joseph Laviolette federal time could find little reason for softer measures.

This, despite the fact Laviolette is just 19 years old.

Wednesday in Provincial Court, the Summerside teen received 30 months in custody for eight charges including sexual assault, uttering threats, two counts of arson, break and enter and other property offences.

Judge Jeff Lantz could find little positive in the pre-sentence report.

"It certainly does not paint a good picture."

The offences had been troubling. Laviolette had been found guilty of sexual assault for having sex with a 13-year-old girl. He'd also threatened to kill her if she saw anyone else.

The damage caused by his property offences totalled more than $53,700. They included fire that destroyed a vacant city residence and damaged a neighbouring home, and setting fire inside the former Holland College building on Granville Street. During a break and enter at the Slemon Park rink, Laviolette created a swastika using a powdered substance and wrote profanity and racial slurs with markers. Other offences included forcible entry into an apartment, having a stolen bicycle and stealing a chequebook.

Crown attorney John Diamond argued for a 30- to 36-month sentence and stressed the need for denunciation and deterrence in cases involving abuse of children. The pre-sentence report indicated Laviolette had previously been referred to a sexual deviance specialist for aggressive sexual behaviour toward young females. Diamond pointed out Laviolette has an extensive record and was on probation when these offences occurred, from July through October.

Defence lawyer Robert McNeill argued for provincial custody (less than two years) plus probation.

He argued the girl consented to intercourse. McNeill also suggested his client operated at a lower mental level and suffered from depression, but also expressed he was open to getting help.

In sentencing, Lantz stressed the courts must protect children. Under the law, a 13-year-old can't consent to sex. The judge also noted the fear she expressed about the threat.

Lantz called the rink graffiti disturbing and damage from the property offences substantial. He explained sometimes it's necessary to separate an offender from the community.

"I think we're at that stage."

Laviolette will be on the sex offender registry for 20 years and must provide a DNA sample for a databank of dangerous offenders.

Hopefully, Lantz said, he will make use of programs during his prison term to get help.