Behchoko man sentenced to almost 5 years for sexual assaults

Yellowknife RCMP jail woman after she was sexually assaulted

A man from Bechoko, N.W.T. has been sentenced to almost five years in prison after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a woman and a 13-year-old girl.

Peter John Lafferty, 42, was sentenced Friday morning in N.W.T. Supreme Court.

He was first charged with sexual assault in October 2016 after assaulting an unconscious woman in his home. While released on bail, Lafferty was found raping a sleeping 13-year-old girl.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault, and one count of sexual interference in May.

In a joint submission, the Crown and defence lawyers recommended Lafferty be sentenced to 4 years and 9 months in prison. Supreme Court Justice Louise Charbonneau called the recommendation a "restrained but fair outcome."

With time served, there are two years and one month remaining in Lafferty's sentence.

Lafferty will also be registered as a sex offender and he has a 10-year firearms ban following his release from prison.

2 assaults weeks apart

Both sexual assaults took place in October 2016, under similar circumstances.

According to the agreed statement of facts, on Oct. 1 an intoxicated woman and her friends went to Lafferty's home in Behchoko. After the woman passed out on the couch, Lafferty asked her friends to leave. Concerned for the woman's safety, one of them called the RCMP.

While the woman said she has no memory of the night, DNA found on Lafferty's underwear and a used condom in his pocket match both Lafferty and the woman.

Lafferty was charged with sexual assault and released on bail.

On Oct. 22, a group of teenagers went to Lafferty's house to drink and smoke marijuana. An intoxicated 13-year-old fell asleep in a bedroom, and she told police she awoke to Lafferty having sex with her. Her friends entered the room and saw her crying, before pushing Lafferty off of her.

Police later found a used condom, containing both the girl and Lafferty's DNA on the floor.

Alcohol management a priority

Justice Charbonneau stressed that she believes Lafferty is sorry for what he has done, but said he needs to use that remorse as the drive to change his behaviours.

She also said the level of intoxication of both the victims and Lafferty during the assaults indicates that alcohol management should be a major priority for him moving forward.

Charbonneau further said Lafferty's jail sentence must include access to important programs, including programming for sex offenders.

While Lafferty's family and friends stressed that being imprisoned in a northern facility would be best for his rehabilitation, sex offender programming is not available in the Northwest Territories.

Charbonneau recommended that if Lafferty completes programming at a southern prison, he should then be transferred to the North to serve the remainder of his sentence.