Cape Breton Post

Sydney Mines man jailed for sexual assault of child

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- CAPE BRETON POST STAFF news@cbpost.com @capebreton­post

EDITOR’S NOTE:

SYDNEY — A Sydney Mines man has been sentenced to a 22-month jail term on conviction of sexual assault involving an 11-year-old girl.

Clifford Darryl Avery Cavanaugh, 43, was convicted of the offence by a Supreme Court jury in December 2020.

“Many victims carry this burden for the rest of their lives,” said Justice Patrick Murray, in passing sentence Tuesday.

In addition to the jail sentence, Murray ordered that Cavanaugh be a registered sex offender for 20 years, he is prohibited from possessing weapons for 10 years, prohibited from attending areas where those under 16 are likely to gather (pools, playground­s, daycares) for five years and is to submit a DNA sample to the national registry.

The offences occurred between 2013 and 2014.

Prosecutor Christa MacKinnon recommende­d a sentence of three years while defence lawyer David Iannetti recommende­d a sentence of between 12 and 18 months.

While the jury convicted Cavanaugh of sexual assault, Murray directed a not guilty verdict be entered on the second count of sexual interferen­ce.

According to the evidence presented at the trial, Cavanaugh masturbate­d in front of the victim on at least two occasions while in his vehicle. The victim said she turned her head and looked out the window during such acts.

There was also an incident in which Cavanaugh again masturbate­d in front of the victim and then placed some semen on her breasts and licked it off. He also licked her vagina. In her address to the court on sentence, MacKinnon said Cavanaugh engaged in grooming activity with the victim and that separating such offenders from society must take precedent.

“Sexual assaults of children deserve harsher penalties,” she said.

Iannetti described his client as suffering from a number of health concerns and is the primary caretaker for his elderly father.

In his sentencing decision, Murray said sexual assault is a serious conviction that requires serious consequenc­es.

He said the victim was exposed to a highly degrading act and that Cavanaugh took advantage of the situation.

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