West Is­land tat­too artist jailed for hav­ing sex with two mi­nors at his shop

Rowan McKen­zie given nine-month sen­tence, two years of pro­ba­tion

Montreal Gazette - - CITY - PAUL CHERRY pcherry@post­media.com

A West Is­land res­i­dent who op­er­ated a tat­too and body-pierc­ing shop in Pier­re­fonds for years has been sen­tenced to a nine-month prison term for hav­ing sex with two mi­nors in­side his place of busi­ness.

Rowan McKen­zie, 49, ap­peared sullen be­fore he was taken into cus­tody Thurs­day af­ter­noon even though he knew the sen­tence Que­bec Court Judge Joëlle Roy de­liv­ered would be based on a joint sub­mis­sion made by lawyers on both sides of the case.

In Feb­ru­ary, McKen­zie pleaded guilty to charges he had faced since 2013. In do­ing so, he ad­mit­ted he had sex with two girls, who were 14 and 15 at the time, in­side a shop he used to own called Skin Deep.

Af­ter the guilty plea was en­tered, one of the vic­tims, who was in­spired by the MeToo move­ment, took to Face­book and de­scribed her ex­pe­ri­ence and dis­ap­point­ment in the sen­tence McKen­zie would prob­a­bly re­ceive. What she posted gen­er­ated many shares and com­ments. An­other woman who had sex with McKen­zie in­side his shop while she was a mi­nor joined in the Face­book campaign and re­vealed he had been con­victed of sim­i­lar of­fences in 2005.

The abuse hap­pened while McKen­zie had a shop on Des Sources Blvd. in Pier­re­fonds. Af­ter he was charged in the 2013 case, McKen­zie opened a new shop on St. Jean Blvd., within walk­ing dis­tance of Pier­re­fonds Com­pre­hen­sive High School.

The store shut its doors days af­ter the vic­tim went pub­lic on Face­book.

“For five years, it took ev­ery­thing in me to stay quiet about who was among our com­mu­nity. So this past March, af­ter a painfully long time, I said enough was enough,” the vic­tim who took to Face­book said in court on Thurs­day while read­ing from a state­ment be­fore McKen­zie was sen­tenced.

She also ex­plained why she went pub­lic.

“I was tired of hear­ing sto­ries about young girls want­ing tattoos and knowing that they were go­ing to Rowan’s shop for them.

“I risked my pri­vacy and my name to speak pub­licly of Rowan McKen­zie and the dan­ger he presents on the only plat­form that I knew could get across to my com­mu­nity: Face­book. I knew by do­ing this it was an op­por­tu­nity to stop any more peo­ple from be­com­ing a vic­tim of Rowan McKen­zie.”

The Mon­treal Gazette is not pub­lish­ing the vic­tim’s name be­cause her iden­tity is pro­tected by a court or­der. The young woman said she was re­lieved that she has fi­nally be­gun to heal and has “put this ter­ri­ble thing be­hind me.”

She said she felt that McKen­zie took ad­van­tage of her and ma­nip­u­lated her af­ter sens­ing she was go­ing through a dif­fi­cult time in her life when she asked him for a tat­too.

“When writ­ing this state­ment, and even when pre­sent­ing this state­ment, it is my be­lief that it will serve lit­tle value in mak­ing you truly re­al­ize the im­pact of your preda­tory as­saults. I was not your first vic­tim and I was not your last,” she said.

The nine-month prison term will be fol­lowed by two years of pro­ba­tion. Roy is­sued an or­der bar­ring McKen­zie from mak­ing con­tact with mi­nors over the in­ter­net for a pe­riod of 10 years.

Ac­cord­ing to a source close to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, since March, other young women have filed com­plaints with the Mon­treal po­lice against McKen­zie al­leg­ing they were vic­tims of sim­i­lar abuse.

Rowan McKen­zie

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