Man given 3 years for vi­o­lent sex as­sault

Dun­can res­i­dent, 35, con­victed of be­ing one of three men who at­tacked a 15-year-old girl in 2003

Times Colonist - - The Capital And Vancouver Island - LOUISE DICK­SON ldick­son@times­

Warn­ing: Story has graphic de­scrip­tions of vi­o­lence.

A Dun­can man has been sen­tenced to three years in prison for a vi­o­lent sex­ual as­sault on a 15-year-old in 2003.

Peter Charles Leno, 35, was con­victed of be­ing one of three men who raped the girl on June 23, 2003.

Leno was ar­rested and charged 15 years af­ter the of­fence, when a sam­ple of his DNA from an­other case matched DNA from the vic­tim’s un­der­wear.

The trial was marked by out­bursts and in­ter­rup­tions from Leno, who acted as his own lawyer, and the dif­fi­cult, re­luc­tant tes­ti­mony of the vic­tim, a drug ad­dict who was phys­i­cally ill on the stand and had to be taken to hos­pi­tal at one point.

The woman, now 30, tes­ti­fied that she was raped orally and vagi­nally by the three men. In her vic­tim-im­pact state­ment, she wrote that she is “a crys­tal meth, nee­dle-us­ing junkie who smokes heroin.”

“Be­cause of what hap­pened, go through de­pres­sion,” she wrote.

“I also have flash­backs and night­mares. I get re­ally bad anx­i­ety to the point that I can’t work.”

The woman is wary about go­ing out on her own be­cause the other two men who were with Leno that night have never been iden­ti­fied or ar­rested, she wrote.

Crown pros­e­cu­tor Jim Blaz­ina asked the court to im­pose a fiveyear sen­tence.

De­fence lawyer Ryan Drury, who as­sisted Leno at sen­tenc­ing this week, asked the court to let Leno serve his sen­tence in the com­mu­nity.

Jus­tice Keith Bracken handed Leno a three-year sen­tence, not­ing he was 20 years old and had no crim­i­nal record at the time of the at­tack. He gave Leno credit of nine months for the time he has spent in pre-trial cus­tody. That means Leno must serve a fur­ther 27 months in a pen­i­ten­tiary.

Bracken noted that de­spite be­ing found guilty by the jury, Leno main­tains his in­no­cence.

He has shown no re­morse and con­tin­ues to make den­i­grat­ing re­marks about his vic­tim, said the judge, who con­cluded Leno has lit­tle or no chance of re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

In his re­port, psy­chol­o­gist Dr. An­thony Dug­bartey pointed out that Leno has not ac­cepted re­spon­si­bil­ity for any of the crimes he has com­mit­ted.

Dug­bartey be­lieves Leno would be strongly re­sis­tant to any form of in­ter­ven­tion or ther­apy.

He rec­om­mended Leno be strictly su­per­vised and have no con­tact with the vic­tim.

“I asked Mr. Leno if he knew the vic­tim be­fore the of­fence. He said no. I in­vited him to ex­plain how it hap­pened,” Dug­bartey wrote in his re­port. “He said while he was uri­nat­ing the vic­tim sim­ply came up to him and en­gaged in sex with him.”

“I’m not deny­ing any­thing,” Dug­bartey’s re­port quoted Leno as say­ing.

“I’m just say­ing it was con­sen­sual. She’s men­tal health. There were four guys in the car that showed up. I don’t think I should be in jail. I’m not at risk. The girl’s not even dam­aged.”

Dug­bartey did not come to any firm con­clu­sion about Leno’s risk of re-of­fend­ing.

The court heard that the vic­tim, who lived in a group home, went to a 7-Eleven in Dun­can on the night of June 23, 2003, to wait for a friend.

Her friend did not ar­rive, but Leno and his com­pan­ions pulled up in a car. There was some kiss­ing at the con­ve­nience store and the girl agreed to get in the car with them.

They drove down a hill a short dis­tance, grabbed her out of the car and pulled her into the bushes. They put her to the ground, took off her clothes and held her down.

“In my view, she did give de­tails of the as­sault and how she knew all three had par­tic­i­pated,” said Bracken. “She gave de­scrip­tions … of the shape of the penises she was sub­jected to ac­cept orally and vagi­nally.”

The men dumped out her purse and drove off. The girl lost one of her shoes and walked back bare­foot to the con­ve­nience store. Wit­nesses saw her sit­ting on the curb and cry­ing. They de­scribed her as dirty, di­shev­elled and scared.

Ron Arscott tes­ti­fied at trial that he of­fered to drive her to the po­lice sta­tion or the hos­pi­tal but she didn’t want to go. He drove her back to his place, where his wife op­er­ated a day­care. They fed her and washed her clothes and she took a bath.

The next day, she took po­lice of­fi­cers back to the place where the as­sault took place.

She was also ex­am­ined by a sex­ual-as­sault nurse, who doc­u­mented tears in her vagina and at the en­trance to the vagina. The vagi­nal vault was red and swollen and she had abra­sions, scratches and bruises.

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