CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - A P.E.I. Supreme Court judge told a young woman she was courageous after sentencing the victim’s abuser to five years in prison for two sex offences.
Joseph Gordon MacRoberts appeared before P.E.I. Supreme Court Justice Terri MacPherson in Charlottetown for sentencing after pleading guilty to the two offences that included sexual interference.
After sentencing MacRoberts, MacPherson turned to address the complainant and said she acknowledged the young woman had been victimized, but didn’t see a victim.
Instead, she saw a strong, courageous woman who has been to “hell and back” and was trying to make her life better, MacPherson said.
“Don’t ever stop trying.”
As she read her decision, MacPherson repeated details of the abuse that spanned several years and included MacRoberts having intercourse with the victim repeatedly.
MacRoberts is from St. John’s, N.L. and moved to P.E.I. several years ago.
The offences occurred in P.E.I. where MacRoberts convinced the victim, who was younger than the age of the consent when the abuse started, that they were in a relationship.
The abuse only stopped when the victim reported it.
A DNA sample the authorities obtained after the victim reported the abuse was a match for MacRoberts.
As she read her decision, MacPherson said MacRoberts’s actions will have a lasting physical and emotional impact on the victim.
When the victim spoke in court in January about the impact the abuse had on her, she said she would agree to have sex with MacRoberts, but didn’t like it.
She felt dirty, gross and disgusting and struggled with thoughts of killing herself, the victim said.
MacPherson said although MacRoberts didn’t use physical force, his manipulation and coercion of the victim were just as effective.
The extent of MacRoberts’s moral culpability was high, MacPherson said.
MacPherson also said MacRoberts could have stopped the abuse at any point, but it was the victim who brought it to an end when she reported it.
“He never stopped.”
There were mitigating factors MacPherson said she considered when determining an appropriate sentence, including his guilty plea, his lack of a related criminal record and his expression of remorse.
But in listing those factors, MacPherson said MacRoberts demonstrated a lack of insight into his conduct and the damage he did.
MacRoberts will be on the national sex offender registry for life, he will have a DNA sample in the national databank for life and he will be under a weapons prohibition for life.
A publication ban prevents the release of any details that could identify the victim.