Fort Good Hope man sentenced for child pornography-related offences

On Monday, the Northwest Territories Supreme Court heard victim impact statements, and about the hardships experienced by the offender.  (Natalie Pressman/CBC - image credit)
On Monday, the Northwest Territories Supreme Court heard victim impact statements, and about the hardships experienced by the offender. (Natalie Pressman/CBC - image credit)

WARNING: This story contains distressing information on child pornography and suicide.

A Fort Good Hope, N.W.T., man who pleaded guilty to charges related to child pornography has been sentenced to serve another two years less a day at the Fort Smith Correctional Complex.

Kenny Shae Jr., who is in his early twenties, was convicted of one count each of possessing and transmitting child pornography.

The court previously heard that in 2019, Shae Jr. was found with nearly 1,500 images and one video in his possession, and that he had been sending material on apps including Discord and Kik.

In a Yellowknife courtroom on Monday, Northwest Territories Supreme Court Justice Andrew Mahar heard anonymized victim impact statements from a person whose image was among those found in Shae Jr.'s possession, and from the mother of three girls whose images were in Shae Jr.'s collection.

Mahar also heard about the hardships experienced by Shae Jr., including family violence and the early deaths of his sister and brother.

Mahar agreed with the joint sentencing recommendation from the Crown and the defence of two years and six months. With credit for time served, this amounts to two years less a day going forward. Mahar said it takes into account the "horrible crimes" and the "sympathetic circumstances" of Shae Jr.

Shae Jr. has been incarcerated since July 12.

Victims 'will suffer for many more years to come'

At the sentencing, Crown prosecutor Morgan Fane read two victim impact statements provided by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, a charity whose stated aim is to reduce child abuse and victimization.

In the first statement, the person said she struggles with sleeplessness, nightmares, paranoia, anxiety and dissociation, among other physical and mental health issues.

She worries people who have seen her images will try to find her, and now that she's a mother of two young children, she lives in constant fear for their safety, too.

In the second victim impact statement, a woman said she worries her daughters' wellbeing and development have been affected by their abuse, and the images of it, which are still in circulation online.

"The enormity of their reality is hard to comprehend. All three of my daughters are embarrassed and humiliated," she said. "They're afraid they'll be recognized by people who've downloaded the images."

She said her daughters have suffered for years, and "will suffer for many more years to come."

'I have never hated myself more'

Fane said that a pre-sentence report for Shae Jr. outlines the difficulties he went through growing up, including the deaths of his family members, and a fear of his father.

Fane said Shae Jr.'s mother is close to her son and doesn't want to lose another child.

Shae Jr. does not have a previous criminal record.

His defence lawyer, Peter Harte, said Shae Jr. is eager to continue with counselling and "anxious never to find himself before the court again."

Shae Jr. choked back tears as he gave his own statement to the court.

"Through these past few years I've been incarcerated and in trouble with law, I have never hated myself more," he said.

Shae Jr. said when he was charged, his mother made him sleep in the living room near her because she didn't want to lose a third child.

The judge said the court must denounce Shae Jr.'s crimes in "the strongest possible terms," while having some compassion and sympathy for him.

In addition to a jail sentence, Shae Jr. will be registered as a sex offender for 20 years.

For 10 years, he'll be banned from daycares, school grounds, playgrounds and community centres, and from contacting people under 16 years of age unless they're family members.

He's also barred from deleting his browser history, and must hand over his devices to police if asked.

Shae Jr. will also get two years of probation so he can continue counselling after he's released.