Warning: This story contains sexually graphic descriptions of crimes against children.
“Rot in hell,” a woman yelled from the crowded public gallery as former foster parent Kurk MacKay was led away by sheriffs to begin serving a 12-year prison sentence for sexually interfering with two young children placed in his care.
On March 9, MacKay was convicted by a jury of two counts of sexual assault and two counts of sexual interference. The offences were committed against a boy who lived with MacKay and his wife from the age of four to 11. The boy, now 17, believes the offences took place from 2005 to 2009, starting when he was five years old. The second victim was a seven-year-old girl placed in the foster home in 2008.
The offences came to light after the children, who are not siblings, were no longer with the MacKays and had been placed in other foster homes. The two children eventually, separately, disclosed what had happened to West Shore RCMP.
On Friday, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Brian MacKenzie sentenced MacKay, a married father of four who worked as a electrician at the Department of National Defence, to two consecutive six-year prison terms for each victim.
“I cannot conceive of a more morally blameworthy act than a parent sexually offending against his or her child, particularly as here, commencing at a young age and being repeated over a number of years,” MacKenzie said.
In October 2008, the Ministry of Children and Family Development portrayed the MacKays as a model foster-parent family. A ministry news release, which is still online, cited MacKay and his wife, Nicola, who at that time had fostered 16 foster children, as an example of “amazing and resilient” foster-parent families.
During the three-week trial, the boy testified that MacKay crawled into his bed at night and forced him to have anal sex. MacKay put his hand over the boy’s mouth to stop him from crying out, he said. After MacKay left the bedroom, the boy cried himself to sleep. It happened more than 10 times, he said.
The boy also told the jury he was forced to perform fellatio on MacKay. He testified that when he told his foster mother about the abuse, Kurk MacKay threatened him.
The girl, now 15, was placed in the MacKay foster home in 2008. She described how MacKay would have anal sex with her, bouncing her while naked on his exposed penis as she sat on his lap. MacKay would seat her on his lap and show her pornographic images as a prelude to sexually assaulting her, she testified. After, he would tell her how special she was. MacKay hurt her when he used a vibrator to penetrate her, she said.
MacKay, 44, who testified in his own defence, denied the offences. His wife and one of his daughters testified that he wouldn’t have had the opportunity to commit the offences.
A court-ordered psychiatric assessment found MacKay reluctant to admit even his minor faults. “He may be blindly uncritical of his own behaviour and insensitive to negative consequences of his behaviour and how they affect others,” said the report.
Because MacKay continues to deny the offences, a risk assessment could not be completed
Victim impact statements presented to the court said MacKay’s crimes have had a devastating psychological impact on his victims. “Society condemns the sexual assault of children, even more so when the child is violated by a parent, the one person in the world who is supposed to be devoted to the child,” said MacKenzie.
MacKay must give a DNA sample to the authorities. MacKenzie also imposed a lifetime prohibition on MacKay seeking employment or being a volunteer in a position of trust or authority over children under 16.