Ottawa Citizen

Delivery man gets house arrest for sex assaults


A Brockville man who had a contract with Canada Post was sentenced to one year of house arrest and probation on Wednesday for groping three women while delivering parcels.

Joe Gray, 70, will serve three months of house arrest followed by nine months of probation, Justice Richard Knott of the Ontario Court of Justice ruled.

Gray pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault and two counts of simple assault against the three customers.

He was originally charged two years ago with sexually assaulting four women. The first complainan­t, who said she was assaulted in 2014, withdrew her complaint after three more women stepped forward following an appeal by Brockville police, court heard Wednesday.

The suggestion of the one-year conditiona­l sentence with no jail time was a joint submission of the Crown and defence counsel.

Addressing the court before his sentence, Gray said he was “remorseful” and said: “I apologize for my actions.”

Crown prosecutor John O'Halloran said Gray took “unwarrante­d liberties” with his female customers and his actions infringed on the victims' feelings of safety in their homes.

If not for COVID-19, O'Halloran said he would have asked for community service as part of the sentence.

Defence lawyer Felicia O'Hara asked the judge to consider Gray's age — he turns 71 this year — and the fact he had no previous criminal record.

O'Hara said Canada Post ended a longtime contract with Gray after hearing of the charges. Gray is also a family man with a wife and three adult children, she said.

In accepting the plea deal, Knott said he was taking into account Gray's guilty plea, his expression­s of remorse, his age and his lack of a previous criminal record.

The judge the impact of COVID -19 influenced his decision. The courts can't handle as many trials as during normal times, Knott said, so Gray's guilty plea carried a lot of weight.

His trial had been scheduled to last two days.

The judge ordered Gray to donate $900 to Leeds and Grenville Addictions and Mental Health. He must also give up his job as a delivery driver and stay away from his victims.

Gray will remain on the sex-offender registry for 20 years.

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