Crown seeks at least 10-year sentence for badminton coach who sexually abused boys

Crown prosecutors are calling for a sentence of at least 10 years for a former youth badminton coach who pleaded guilty to eight counts of sexual assault involving six boys from 1970 to 1985.

At his sentencing hearing Tuesday, 74-year-old Harry Charles Sadd stared straight ahead as Crown prosecutor Leslie Baskerville recounted Sadd’s sexual encounters with young boys.

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It was emotional, at times, in the courtroom. Several of Sadd’s victims, now middle-aged men, were in attendance.

Sadd was arrested in 2016 when a man approached Victoria police with allegations that he had been assaulted by Sadd starting when he was about nine until his late teens.

Defence lawyer Chris Considine called for a sentence of two years less a day followed by three years of probation, noting that Sadd had sought treatment in the 1980s and 1990s.

Sadd was previously in court in 1991 and 1993 for sex-related charges that led to one suspended sentence and one sentence of 30 days.

Considine also pointed to Sadd’s guilty plea. “He did not want to put the victim through the trauma of testifying.”

One man said in reading his victim-impact statement that talking about what happened to him was like “digging up thick, putrid mud from the bottom of a lake.”

He said he fell victim to Sadd as an 11-year-old who had moved to the Victoria area from a small community. “For the first time I was living in a large community and desperate to fit in,” he said.

The man met Sadd at a Victoria church. “This was a church,” he said. “This was a safe place.”

He was assaulted by Sadd during what he called “a confusing time of life.”

“I learned to cope,” he said. “I learned to push the junk aside.”

He said he did well for a time, but then his marriage collapsed. When he told his mother about what had happened to him “she was crushed.”

“She was rocked to her core.”

He said he was in court making his statement to support his “brothers” who had also been assaulted.

Another man, whose statement was read for him, said he still struggles with his past.

“It has been 36 years but the anger never goes away and the memories never fade.”

In a statement written for him by a counsellor, another man explained how he would sometimes wake up screaming at night — loud enough to wake the people in the next apartment.

Baskerville said a report done on Sadd says he insisted that he never forced anyone to engage in sexual acts, and that the boys were mentally and physically able to make their own decisions.

Outside court, Sgt. Jan Malinosky of the Victoria Police Department’s Special Victims Unit said it is clear that Sadd harmed his victims. “I think listening to the men in that courtroom today you can see the damage that it’s done.

“Everybody talks about this being a closure for them, but I really don’t see it that way. I think it’s just one more step to their healing process, but I don’t think they’re going to get what they’re looking for today as far as closure.”

Malinosky said her unit deals with survivors of sexual abuse all the time. “It doesn’t get any easier, just to imagine the impact it has on them, their families,” she said.

She praised the men involved for coming forward, and estimated that police have dealt with over a dozen victims altogether.

“I think this case is really terrible, probably one of the worst that I’ve seen in my career, and probably many us that work in my section have seen in their careers, as well,” Malinosky said.

The sentencing hearing resumes today.

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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