3 women sentenced for 2015 kidnapping, sexual assault posted online

·2 min read

Three women convicted of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a then 21-year-old acquaintance in a humiliating revenge attack that was recorded and posted on social media have each been sentenced to several years behind bars.

Eunice Ilunga, 46, Sandrine Tomba-Kalema, 40, and Safi Mahinja, 30, were found guilty in October 2019 of breaking and entering, forcible confinement, kidnapping and sexual assault related to the July 3, 2015, incident.

The women believed the victim was having an affair with Ilunga's boyfriend. Both the victim and her attackers belong to Ottawa's tight-knit Congolese community.

In rendering his decision Tuesday, Justice Robert Smith wrote that the attack had "a horrendous impact" on the victim, leaving her with feelings of shame and humiliation because her whole community knew about the assault.

"She became suicidal and has symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder," Smith wrote.

Ringleader gets 8 years

Ilunga was sentenced to eight years in prison, reduced to just under four and a half years after she was given credit for presentence custody, and for strict bail conditions and lockdowns that occurred at the jail where she spent part of that custody. The lockdowns were primarily related to staff shortages because of COVID-19.

Smith outlined Ilunga's nine prior convictions, including one for assault causing bodily harm in 2003, as well as her lack of remorse, which he wrote "negatively affects her prospects for rehabilitation."

Mahinja was sentenced to four years in prison and will spend two years and four months behind bars, while Tomba-Kalema was also sentenced to four years, which was reduced to just under two years and four months.

Tomba-Kalema was sentenced in absentia. A warrant for her arrest was issued last fall, and her whereabouts are still unknown.

In addition to the sentence, each woman must provide a DNA sample, have their names added to the sex offender registry for 20 years and face a lifetime ban on owning firearms.