Former Innisfail-Sylvan Lake MLA Don MacIntyre has pleaded guilty in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench to a count of sexual interference and has been sentenced to three years in prison.
MacIntyre, who is 63, resigned last February after he was charged with sexual assault and sexual interference. He had represented the Innisfail-Sylvan Lake riding for the United Conservative Party after being elected under the Wildrose Party banner in 2015.
An agreed statement of facts read in court Friday said MacIntyre touched the victim sexually with a part of his body between Jan. 1, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2011.
The touching happened between five to 10 times when the victim was 10 years old. She told her mother in 2015.
"He told her that God said that God was OK with the touching," the agreed statement of facts said, adding the victim felt depressed and had suicidal thoughts.
"She would visualize stabbing herself and killing herself."
Court heard MacIntyre apologized after the assaults, asked for forgiveness and said it was part of "Satan's plan to destroy (the victim's) faith."
The victim told court she sometimes thought she was imagining things or that it was her fault. When MacIntyre finally apologized, "I was so relieved I was not losing my mind," she said.
Reading her victim impact statement Friday morning, the victim cried as she told court the abuse caused her to give up creative pursuits that made her happy.
"It hurt my chest and I felt sick to my stomach all the time," she said.
She said she sometimes thought she was imagining things. When MacIntyre finally apologized, "I was so relieved I was not losing my mind," she said.
She told court she still has nightmares and is often angry.
"I will carry this rage I have for him to my grave."
Prosecutor Julie Snowdon said MacIntyre's remorse was a mitigating factor, but she suggested that was tempered by his linking his actions to the devil.
"It's easy and convenient to deflect blame to an external force such as Satan," said Snowdon, who added that was a further example of the manipulation tactics he used on his victim.
Defence lawyer Ian McKay said the immense publicity the case attracted should factor into the sentence.
"Everybody will know his face. Everybody will know what he's done," McKay said.
MacIntyre apologized to the victim from the prisoner's box for the "pain and anguish" he caused. He then wished her a life that is "whole and healthy and happy."
Justice Deborah A. Yungwirth sentenced MacIntyre to three years in prison to be served at Bowden Institution. MacIntyre will also appear on the sex offender registry for 20 years, be required to submit at DNA sample and not have any contact with the victim for the duration of his incarceration.
Snowdon was seeking a sentence of between three to 3.5 years behind bars. McKay requested two years.
The maximum sentence for sexual interference is 14 years while the minimum is one year.
The count of sexual assault against MacIntyre was withdrawn.
The United Conservative caucus issued a statement Friday condemning MacIntyre.
"We hope this disgusting individual faces the full extent of the law in sentencing for his odious crime. Our thoughts remain with the victim and all those affected at this time."
A publication ban was initially placed on MacIntyre's name when he was charged, but was lifted following a challenge by several media outlets. Any information relating to the child’s identity cannot be published.
(With file from Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press)
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