Man given three years for violent sex assault on teen in 2003

Warning: Story has graphic descriptions of violence.

 

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A Duncan man has been sentenced to three years in prison for a violent sexual assault on a 15-year-old in 2003.

Peter Charles Leno, 35, was convicted of being one of three men who raped the girl on June 23, 2003.

Leno was arrested and charged 15 years after the offence, when a sample of his DNA from another case matched DNA from the victim’s underwear.

The trial was marked by outbursts and interruptions from Leno, who acted as his own lawyer, and the difficult, reluctant testimony of the victim, a drug addict who was physically ill on the stand and had to be taken to hospital at one point.

The woman, now 30, testified that she was raped orally and vaginally by the three men. In her victim-impact statement, she wrote that she is “a crystal meth, needle-using junkie who smokes heroin.”

“Because of what happened, go through depression,” she wrote.

“I also have flashbacks and nightmares. I get really bad anxiety to the point that I can’t work.”

The woman is wary about going out on her own because the other two men who were with Leno that night have never been identified or arrested, she wrote.

Crown prosecutor Jim Blazina asked the court to impose a five-year sentence.

Defence lawyer Ryan Drury, who assisted Leno at sentencing this week, asked the court to let Leno serve his sentence in the community.

Justice Keith Bracken handed Leno a three-year sentence, noting he was 20 years old and had no criminal record at the time of the attack. He gave Leno credit of nine months for the time he has spent in pre-trial custody. That means Leno must serve a further 27 months in a penitentiary.

Bracken noted that despite being found guilty by the jury, Leno maintains his innocence.

He has shown no remorse and continues to make denigrating remarks about his victim, said the judge, who concluded Leno has little or no chance of rehabilitation.

In his report, psychologist Dr. Anthony Dugbartey pointed out that Leno has not accepted responsibility for any of the crimes he has committed.

Dugbartey believes Leno would be strongly resistant to any form of intervention or therapy.

He recommended Leno be strictly supervised and have no contact with the victim.

“I asked Mr. Leno if he knew the victim before the offence. He said no. I invited him to explain how it happened,” Dugbartey wrote in his report. “He said while he was urinating the victim simply came up to him and engaged in sex with him.”

“I’m not denying anything,” Dugbartey’s report quoted Leno as saying.

“I’m just saying it was consensual. She’s mental health. There were four guys in the car that showed up. I don’t think I should be in jail. I’m not at risk. The girl’s not even damaged.”

Dugbartey did not come to any firm conclusion about Leno’s risk of re-offending.

The court heard that the victim, who lived in a group home, went to a 7-Eleven in Duncan on the night of June 23, 2003, to wait for a friend.

Her friend did not arrive, but Leno and his companions pulled up in a car. There was some kissing at the convenience store and the girl agreed to get in the car with them.

They drove down a hill a short distance, grabbed her out of the car and pulled her into the bushes. They put her to the ground, took off her clothes and held her down.

“In my view, she did give details of the assault and how she knew all three had participated,” said Bracken. “She gave descriptions … of the shape of the penises she was subjected to accept orally and vaginally.”

The men dumped out her purse and drove off. The girl lost one of her shoes and walked back barefoot to the convenience store. Witnesses saw her sitting on the curb and crying. They described her as dirty, dishevelled and scared.

Ron Arscott testified at trial that he offered to drive her to the police station or the hospital but she didn’t want to go. He drove her back to his place, where his wife operated a daycare. They fed her and washed her clothes and she took a bath.

The next day, she took police officers back to the place where the assault took place.

She was also examined by a sexual-assault nurse, who documented tears in her vagina and at the entrance to the vagina. The vaginal vault was red and swollen and she had abrasions, scratches and bruises.

ldickson@timescolonist.com

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