MIRAMICHI, N.B. — A former chief of the Esgenoopetitj First Nation in New Brunswick has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on four charges of sexual assault and sexual interference involving two young victims between 1977 and 1985.
Wilbur Dedam was sentenced Tuesday in Miramichi.
Court of Queen's Bench Justice Thomas Christie told the court the impact of the sexual crimes on both female victims has been lifelong. The identities of the two women are protected by a publication pan.
"For decades, courts have sought to find the words that would adequately convey the revulsion society feels toward crimes of the type for which Mr. Dedam has been convicted," Christie told the court. "There are perhaps no words sufficient for that purpose."
One of the victims was 12 years old when the offences began.
"These events, having happened at such a young age, robbed them of their security and hope of their youth — something to which every child should be entitled," the judge said. "There is no chance to repeat those now lost, precious years of youth."
"To do this to a child on a regular and ongoing basis over a period of years is conduct that stands in a league of its own," he added.
Christie sentenced Dedam to 10 years in prison on each of two charges, and five years plus one year on the other charges, but they will be served concurrently.
He told Dedam the 10-year prison sentence pales in comparison to the emotional and psychological pain imposed on the two women.
Dedam must also provide a DNA sample, is prohibited from owning weapons for 10 years, and his name will be placed on a sex offender registry.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2021.
— By Kevin Bissett in Fredericton.
The Canadian Press