Victoria Scout leader sentenced to 30 months for sex assaults

Former Victoria Scout leader John Viszlai has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for sexually assaulting two boys who were in his troop more than 20 years ago.

In July, a B.C. Supreme Court jury convicted Viszlai of confining, sexually assaulting and touching a young boy for a sexual purpose.

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Viszlai was also convicted of sexually assaulting and, while in a position of trust, touching a second boy for a sexual purpose. The offences took place in the early 1990s.

As he imposed sentence Monday, Justice Brian MacKenzie described Viszlai’s conduct as “akin to torture, very invasive and potentially very dangerous.”

“The circumstances are disturbing and difficult to contemplate,” MacKenzie said.

Viszlai, 55, has denied any inappropriate contact with the former scouts. His lawyer, Donald McKay, said he was filing an appeal and applying to the court for Viszlai’s release.

During the trial, the first complainant, now 33, testified that Viszlai was his scout leader for several years.

“He idolized him. He saw him as both a father figure and mentor,” MacKenzie said.

Viszlai talked to the boy about inserting something in his rectum to achieve mythical powers against the dark forces.

The first incident, involving a broom handle, occurred when the boy was almost 12.

Then, when he was 13, Viszlai told the boy he had to go through one final procedure to get these magic powers.

He exerted a lot of emotional pressure on the boy, MacKenzie said.

This incident involved a blindfold and a pulley device secured to the ceiling, MacKenzie said.

The boy was supposed to sit naked on this contraption, known as a Judas chair, for 40 minutes, but extricated himself after 10 minutes.

Viszlai seemed disappointed and it was clear to the boy something really wrong had happened, said MacKenzie.

In a victim impact statement, he wrote that he lived in “confusion and despair when my childhood was taken from me.”

The abuse of the second victim, now 38, started when he was 13. He also considered Viszlai a father figure, respecting and trusting him. He testified that Viszlai took photos of him naked. He also testified that when he was 15, Viszlai wanted him to sit on a rod so it would penetrate him.

“He recalled Viszlai told him about medieval times and rites of passage from boyhood to manhood,” MacKenzie said. “He testified that Viszlai guided him on the pole and encouraged him. He quickly jumped off and said: ‘That’s enough.’ ”

The second boy testified that Viszlai offered him money if he would sit on a rod again.

Viszlai has no criminal record had worked as computer security consultant with the provincial government for years.

A psychiatrist concluded Viszlai is at moderate risk of sexually reoffending and recommended that he participate in a high-intensity sex offender program.

This is the second time Viszlai has been convicted by a jury and sentenced to prison.

In January 2011, a B.C. Supreme Court jury found Viszlai guilty of sexually assaulting the two boys. He was sentenced to three years in prison.

After spending a weekend in jail, Viszlai appealed his conviction. In November 2012, the B.C. Court of Appeal overturned his conviction and ordered a new trial.

After the second conviction, Viszlai tried to reopen the trial, claiming police had drugged him before they interviewed him.

ldickson@timescolonist.com

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