WARNING: The details in this article may concern some readers. Caution is advised.
A retired RCMP officer in Manitoba who successfully appealed a 2017 sentence for sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl in September 2014 has received a longer sentence than he received. received after the first trial on the same matter.
Robert Dowd, 62, was led out of the Winnipeg courtroom and taken into custody Tuesday after provincial court judge Keith Eyrikson sentenced Dowd to 18 months in prison.
“At the end of the day, this is a collection of situations that are morally abhorrent,” Eyrikson told the court in making his decision.
Prior to that, the Court heard on September 26, 2014, neighbors and friends gathered at a campsite in Interlake for a campfire on a cold and windy night.
The host that night was Dowd, an RCMP officer on duty, who testified that he and a friend had lit a fire and several people were in attendance.
Among those in attendance were a 9-year-old girl, her brother, and their father, a family Dowd testified in court during the trial he had first met that evening.
In a videotape claimed to be made the day after the fire, the 9-year-old girl, now 16 and unidentifiable, told police she was alone with Dowd on a street. near the campsite when he inappropriately touched her.
Eyrikson found Dowd guilty of both sexual assault and sexual interference in July after the Manitoba Court of Appeals ordered a retrial. However, Dowd was only convicted of one count of sexual interference. Citing the Kienapple principle, which prevents defendants from being punished for two crimes committed by the same act, Eyrikson imposed a conditional stay on sexual assault.
In a victim impact statement written by the girl and read in court by Crown attorney Sivananthan Sivarouban, she said she hasn’t trusted anyone since and has struggled to get to work and face the public.
“I lost my youth because of you,” the now 16-year-old wrote in a statement read out by Sivarouban. “The most regrettable thing is that I am suffering the consequences of your actions.”
The girl’s stepmother testified in court that her stepdaughter had been battling depression and had twice attempted suicide.
Sivarouban says the effects on the girl are profound, both emotionally and psychologically. He is seeking an 18-month sentence, the maximum allowed by law at the time of the offence.
Dowd’s attorney, Sarah Inness, argued for a sentence no higher than what her client received after the initial 12-month trial.
“It was an appropriate sentence,” Inness told the court.
She told the court he had a low risk of recidivism, was supported by his family and community members, and that his police status was not a factor in the crime.
Eyrikson acknowledged Dowd had a low risk of recidivism and told the court that while Dowd should not be punished for successfully appealing his original sentence, he considered the 12-month sentence to be extremely low.
Dowd is credited with 32 days of his previous sentence, meaning he has 16 months and 18 days left to serve.
He maintained his innocence and suggested to the court he planned another appeal.
“I would like to take this moment to say that I am innocent of what I have been accused of,” Dowd said in court. “At no point did I inappropriately touch that girl. I will continue the fight to prove my innocence.”
Dowd’s attorney had no further comment after the decision.
The girl’s family said they hope her bravery and bravery in the case will be seen by others as an example so they don’t have to suffer in silence.
Anyone struggling with mental health can call the CMHA at 204-982-6100. If you are in crisis, you can call the 24-hour Klinic Crisis Line at 204-786-8686 or 1-888-322-3019.
More support for mental health in Manitoba can be found online.