A 24-year-old man who committed sexual offences against teenage girls at a Vancouver Island riding stable three years ago has been sentenced to 21 months in jail, followed by three years of probation.
On Thursday, Victoria provincial court Judge Lisa Mrozinski found Cody Wolff’s acts of “sexual violence” against a 14-year-old girl and a 13-year-old girl caused significant harm to the young victims and their families.
At an earlier court proceeding, Wolff pleaded guilty to one count of child luring and one count of indecent exposure to a person under the age of 16. Wolff also pleaded guilty to obstructing a police officer and breaching his bail conditions not to consume alcohol and to have no contact with girls under the age of 16.
Mrozinski noted that although the charge was child luring, Wolff actually had sexual intercourse at least twice with the 14-year-old. The indecent act charge stems from the fact Wolff sent three photographs of his genitals to the 13-year-old.
Court heard that Wolff met the 14-year-old girl at the riding stable, where he lived and worked, in January 2017, when he was 21. Between January and July, they exchanged 6,000 text messages.
“The texts are sexually explicit,” said Mrozinski. “Mr. Wolff makes explicit reference to her body parts. He compliments her on the body, her looks … He encourages sexual contact in no uncertain terms.”
Wolff also sent the girl photos of his genitals.
At the sentencing hearing, the Crown noted that the texts contain an aspect of grooming. They are planned and persistent and a deliberate preying on a young person. Wolff tells the teenager he loves her and wants to marry her. The girl is led to believe she is the object of his deep affection. It’s also clear that he’s worried her parents will discover their relationship, the Crown said.
But around June 2017, at the same time he was having sex with the 14-year-old, Wolff met the 13-year-old at the stables. He sent her indecent photos and asked for photos of her in return. The teen sent him one photo in which she is wearing a bra. She reported the matter to police, who learned of his sexual encounters with the first girl.
Wolff was arrested and released on bail. But he breached his conditions by drinking and resisting arrest when police pulled him over in August 2017.
He admitted he was also in contact with two other teenage girls at the stable between September 2018 and August 2019. He was arrested on Aug. 14, 2019, and has been in jail for the past 10 months.
Four reports were prepared for Wolff’s sentencing hearing. They describe a difficult childhood. As a child, he experienced mental-health disorders that were untreated.
Wolff was diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome, depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and high-functioning autism. He tried to kill himself at age 18 and again at age 19.
The psychologist questioned whether Wolff had an anxiety disorder as well as an alcohol-abuse disorder, and found him to be a moderate-to-high risk of future sexual violence, higher if Wolff was drinking.
The psychologist said Wolff did not have sufficient insight into the harm his offending caused. Wolff knew his sexual contact with the 14-year-old girl was unlawful and that the consequences would be significant, she noted.
Wolff addressed the court, expressing remorse and saying he intended to stay sober. He said he was sorry for the harm done to the victims and their families.
Mrozinski said it was unfortunate that the 14-year-old’s parents could not be present at the hearing due to the COVID crisis.
She found Wolff was attentive during the lengthy sentencing hearing and heard about the parents’ pain and the harm done to their daughter, who is only now beginning to recover.
Although the 13-year-old did not submit a victim-impact statement, the courts must still consider the potential harm done to her, said Mrozinski.
The judge found the age of the girl, the length of the communication and the element of planning and deliberation in Wolff’s text messaging to be aggravating factors in the case.
Wolff was clearly drinking before, during and after texting, but there’s no sense that he was blind-drunk or in a state of automatism when he sent thousands of text messages and he did not retract his comments when sober, she said.
The graphic nature of the texts might have desensitized the girl to their impropriety, said the judge, who called the fact Wolff had sexual intercourse with the girl a serious aggravating factor.
Mrozinski noted that Wolff has no criminal record and his guilty plea spared the children and their families a trial.
She also accepted his expression of remorse and the fact Wolff is getting help for his drinking problem.
Mrozinski sentenced Wolff to 18 months in custody on the luring charge and a three-month consecutive sentence for the indecent exposure. He received a 30-day sentence for breaching his conditions by drinking, 45 days for obstructing police and 90 days for breaching his no-contact order. The sentences will be served concurrently.
Wolff has been in custody since Aug. 14, 2019. After credit for time served, he has six months left to serve.
During his three years of probation, Wolff is not permitted to communicate with anyone under 16. He must also take counselling as directed by his probation officer.
Mrozinski also ordered him to provide a DNA sample to the authorities.