A former reserve constable who volunteered for both Victoria and Saanich police has received a six-month conditional sentence after being convicted of the sexual exploitation of a 15-year-old cadet in 1993.
Aaron Plater, 53, will be under house arrest for the first three months of the six-month sentence, which will be followed by 12 months of probation. He must give a sample of his DNA and must complete 40 hours of community work within the first nine months of his probation.
Plater, a former executive director with the legal services branch of the Attorney General’s M inistry, must also pay restitution of $16,300 to his victim for the counselling he has received.
At Plater’s sentencing hearing last week, the victim, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, read an emotional statement in court, describing how the abuse had affected every aspect of his life.
The man, now a father in his mid-40s, said he joined the police mentor program because he dreamed of becoming a police officer. He wanted to learn about policing and meet new people. He remembered the large board room in the old police station on Fisgard Street and how proud he was to wear the uniform.
He looked up to Plater, who was the supervisor in charge of the program, and thought of him as a big brother. They became friends and Plater would pick him up and drive him home.
“That’s when you’d make your moves on me. I knew it was coming. I could sense it every time,” he said.
The victim said he did nothing wrong and did not ask for or want this.
“You took advantage of me being a young immature boy and you played games with my emotions. You defied my trust and you used me for your own pleasure and enjoyment,” said the man.
“Everyone questioned why you surrounded yourself with young boys and men. Everyone knew. Everyone saw it. But I lived it.
“You always believed you were a leader, a police officer, a mentor, a friend. But you’re a predator and a molester and you should be ashamed of yourself.”
The victim said he struggled with depression, guilt, shame and fear. He spent two months in a mental-health facility and had PTSD diagnosed.
“You worked our friendship into some sick and twisted fantasy. You believed that our friendship was romantic and special. I will never understand why you thought this. You are not a good person. You used your power to get me alone.”
The victim has a fear of leaving his children with anyone. He coached them in sports to be with them all the time and says he feels the need to protect them so they will never go through what he did.
“You took so much from me — my power, my self-esteem, my confidence, my self-worth, my trust, my safety and security, my innocence, my friendship, my marriage, my career, my learning and my experiences. You took the joy of fatherhood away from me. I couldn’t relax. I couldn’t enjoy my time with my children.”
Crown prosecutor Kris Pechet noted that Plater was 21 when he met the cadet.
“He was simply an auxiliary police officer. He wasn’t a trained teacher
“He was a young man who people liked and gave potentially too much responsibility to him at the time and he abused it,” said Pechet, adding that Plater had taken some responsibility for his actions by agreeing to pay restitution for the victim’s counselling.
Defence lawyer Dale Marshall told the court that forensic psychiatrist Dr. Shabehram Lohrasbe found Plater at low risk for sexual violence in the future.
“There are no indications he requires treatment interventions,” said Marshall, quoting the doctor’s report.
Plater did not have a criminal record prior to the offence and lost his career in June 2021 because of the allegations, Marshall said. He now works as a driver for a local bakery, at half the income.
Plater has dedicated his entire life to volunteering, his lawyer said, starting in 1988 coaching little league baseball. He has received awards, certificates and commendations.
Provincial court Judge Karina Sacca noted that the abuse continued over several years.
“It’s a terribly, sad, sad case, for Mr. Plater as well as for his victim,” she said. “The stigma will follow him for the rest of his life.”
Plater is appealing his conviction.