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Whitehorse man sentenced for coercing minor into sexual act in exchange for crack cocaine

A close-up of the sign on the side of the courthouse in Whitehorse. Patrick Parker, 32, was found guilty in October for coercing a 15-year-old victim into a sexual act in exchange for crack cocaine. (Jackie Hong/CBC - image credit)
A close-up of the sign on the side of the courthouse in Whitehorse. Patrick Parker, 32, was found guilty in October for coercing a 15-year-old victim into a sexual act in exchange for crack cocaine. (Jackie Hong/CBC - image credit)

WARNING: This article contains details of sexual assault.

A Whitehorse man who coerced a 15-year-old girl to perform a sexual act on him in exchange for crack cocaine will spend an additional six months in jail.

Patrick Parker, 32, was found guilty in October of sexual interference, obtaining sexual services for consideration from a person under 18 and sexual assault following a judge-alone trial.

Yukon territorial court judge John Phelps handed Parker a three-year-and-one-month sentence earlier this month, but gave him just more than two-and-a-half years of credit for the time he'd already spent in jail. His incarceration will be followed by 18 months' probation.

The charges date back to February 2020, when Parker met with the victim in downtown Whitehorse.

In his decision issued after the trial, Phelps wrote that the victim testified that she was living in a hotel room with a roommate at the time and addicted to crack cocaine.

Her name is covered by a publication ban.

One night, when the victim went to the washroom, her roommate used her phone to text Parker and, pretending to be her, offered to perform oral sex in exchange for approximately $150-worth of crack.

Parker accepted the offer and the victim initially decided to go through with the exchange. She met Parker by the train station near the River View Hotel and walked to "a little blue building" surrounded by a fence "in a secluded area near the river," Phelps wrote.

The victim and Parker went into the fenced area. The victim testified that she was nervous, "realized that she had made a mistake" and told Parker she didn't want to go through with the deal. However, Parker blocked her from leaving and told her she couldn't leave until he "finished," after which she "did as he asked."

At trial, Parker claimed that he had never met the victim and had no involvement with drugs. Phelps found his testimony unreliable and not to be trusted.

'The moral blameworthiness is high'

Crown Neil Thomson, at Parker's sentencing hearing, asked that Parker receive a four-year-long sentence, arguing that there were no mitigating factors in the case. There were, however, a number of aggravating factors, he noted, including Parker's criminal record, the particular vulnerability of the victim and the circumstances of the sexual assault.

"This is a serious offence — the moral blameworthiness is high," Thomson said.

Defence lawyer Kevin MacGillivray, meanwhile, asked that Parker only serve 60 more days followed by a year of probation, arguing that, with consideration for the time he's already spent in custody, the sentence would be the equivalent of two years and nine months.

MacGillivray noted that there were Gladue factors at play, with Parker being Talhtan. Parker also began struggling with substance use in his late 20s after turning to OxyContin, obtained on the street, to manage pain from old injuries, but was tapering and hoping to access more counselling and substance use treatment programs.

Phelps, when sentencing Parker, noticed the significant impact the crime had on the victim, noting that in her victim impact statement, she stated that she continues to live with extreme anxiety and depression and is "terrified" of running into Parker on the street.

He also noted that it was a "significant aggravating factor" that the victim, who was vulnerable given her age and life circumstances, wanted to leave the situation but Parker had prevented her from doing so.

Phelps acknowledged, though, that Parker feels "terrible" about the crime and its impact on the victim, and was "very fortunate" to have the support of his family when it came to his rehabilitation.

Phelps ultimately sentenced Parker to 31 months for sexual interference, and an additional six months for obtaining sexual services for consideration from a person under 18. He gave Parker 31 months' credit for the time he spent in pre-trial and sentencing custody, leaving him with a half-a-year more in jail.

Parker will be subject to a year-and-a-half of probation after his release, the conditions of which include prohibitions on contacting the victim and possessing or consuming alcohol and non-prescription drugs. As well, his name will be added to a national sex offender registry for 20 years and he's prohibited from using weapons for a decade.

The Crown withdrew the sexual assault charge.

Phelps also sentenced Parker to 15 days' custody, to be served concurrently with the rest of his sentence, for failing to attend court in 2022.

Support is available for anyone who has been sexually assaulted. You can access crisis lines and local support services through this Government of Canada website or the Ending Violence Association of Canada database. If you're in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, please call 911.