KENTVILLE – A Kings County man who sexually exploited a 13-year-old girl has been sentenced to five years in prison.
Darrin Phillip Rouse, 52, of North Kentville, was convicted in April of one count of sexual touching for the crime, which occurred more than a decade ago. He was acquitted of invitation to sexual touching, invitation to sexual touching while in a position of trust, and sexual touching while in a position of trust.
In April, Rouse's lawyer asked for and received a directed verdict of not guilty for a related charge of sexual assault. The judge agreed that charge covered the time when the complainant was 14, and occurred when the age of consent in the criminal code was 14.
The impact on the victim would be significant,” Kentville Supreme Court Justice Mona Lynch said when handing down her decision Wednesday. “She was sexually exploited by a trusted person at the age of 13.”
The victim, who is now in her 20s, testified that she met Rouse through her mother, who he had met at a New Minas bar, and that one day told her he had feelings for her and knew she had feelings for him, and they had sex in his vehicle.
Under the law, because of her age, she could not legally consent to having sex.
She testified that she thought at the time that she loved him, and they had sex several times until she was 15.
Lynch said that sexual touching of a 13-year-old girl “is inherently violent. There is psychological and emotional damage done to children who are sexually abused.”
She said Rouse “groomed” the girl for a period of time, and that the victim was legally incapable of consenting to have sex with him.
Crown attorney Mike MacKenzie had asked for a seven-year sentence for Rouse.
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In his submissions, MacKenzie said Rouse had been on parole from a three-year sentence for sexual offences for only a few months when he committed the crime against the 13-year-old. His conditions included not being alone with anyone under the age of 16.
He also had a second previous conviction for a sexual offence.
“It’s concerning that he had two gos, if you will, at (sex offender) counselling,” MacKenzie said. “It’s even more concerning that he’s released from jail and before the ink is dry on the parole papers, he’s committing another offence.”
Defence lawyer Jonathan Hughes recommended a three-year sentence
“I don’t think more than doubling his previous sentence is necessary in a situation like this,” he said.
“I don’t believe he is beyond rehabilitation,” he said.
Given the chance to address the court, Rouse said that “I really don’t know what to say. I’m at a total loss here.”
He referenced a letter to the court written by his surety that he said was meant to address issues around the trial, and and that he felt like he was being convicted again.
“This isn’t an appeal of what happened, this is is the sentencing for what you were convicted of. There’s no re-conviction,” Lynch told him.
Rouse said he was trying to use the letter to have Lynch adjourn the sentencing.
“All I have before me is a sentencing,” Lynch said. “The question is: sentencing is occurring, do you have anything you want to say with regards to sentencing?”
“It doesn’t matter what I say,” Rouse mumbled as he walked away from the microphone and back to his seat.
Lynch said in her decision that “I’m not sentencing Mr. Rouse for his his behaviour in court or during the trial.”
Rouse made several outbursts during the trial, including calling Lynch a “half-assed judge,” and referring to the proceedings as a “kangaroo court.”
He was also arrested during the trial and charged with threatening his surety and peace officers, and resisting arrest, after an incident during a break in the proceeding that saw him pepper-sprayed by sheriff’s deputies.
He was originally scheduled to be sentenced in May, but fired his original lawyer.
MacKenzie said after court that he was pleased with the sentence and that the case has finally come to an end.
“The Crown is pleased that we’ve finally put an end to this chapter. It has been a long time getting to this point.”
Rouse is awaiting sentencing for convictions of trading sex for drugs and trafficking in Dilaudid, and a separate case of trading sex for drugs.