'They were waking up from nightmares': Victims and their mother await sentencing of Nain man

The mother of two girls sexually assaulted by a Nain man says she's glad the court matter is coming to a close, but the ordeal has changed her daughters.

Shane Harris, 26, was found guilty earlier this year of sexual assault and sexual interference involving two minors in 2012. One girl was eight and the other was twelve years old at the time.

The offences happened when Harris, 20 at the time, was staying as a guest at their home in a different community in Labrador. He crawled into bed with the girls as they slept and touched them sexually.

Court proceedings stretched out over the course of five years. The delays were caused, in part, by Harris changing his plea a number of times. In the end, he pleaded not guilty, the matter went to trial and he was found guilty. 

It was an insufferable wait for the family and the two girls. 

"I'm not very happy about that but it's finally coming to a close for me and my girls," the girls' mother told the CBC.

Assaults had a major impact on daughters, says mother

The mother attended the pre-sentence hearing at provincial court in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on Friday and read victim impact statements for her and her two daughters aloud.

"It did a lot of impact on my two girls," she said. "Their attitude changed, they're not like they were as [children] … sometimes they get mad easily, sometimes they get too quiet. I see a lot of changes in my girls from that." 

Proceedings started without Harris, who attended the hearing by phone and did not hear the mother read the statements. 

The Crown is asking for a four- to six-month jail sentence on each count that would run concurrently, while the defence wants a 90-day intermittent sentence, meaning weekends in jail for Harris, who did not have a previous criminal record. Both the defence and Crown prosecutor said they believe rehabilitation is possible for Harris.

That was no comfort for the victims' mother.

"There should be rehabilitation for my girls, they're the ones that were hurt the most," the mother said. "They were waking up from nightmares and everything. [They were] mad and they were scared."

A judge will decide what sentence Harris receives next week. He is also set to be sentenced for child luring in Nain next week and faces another trial for child luring in Grand Falls Windsor in September.