(Courtroom sketches by Sarah Wallace)
A Mountie and his wife have been found guilty of what Ottawa police sources have called the "worst case of abuse" the force has seen, involving the Mountie's then 11-year-old son.
The RCMP officer — who is suspended from the force without pay — was arrested in February 2013 along with his wife.
They had both pleaded not guilty to charges including aggravated assault, failing to provide the necessaries of life and forcible confinement. She faced an additional charge of assault with a weapon, and he faced additional charges of sexual assault causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon.
On Monday, the 45-year-old Mountie was found guilty of aggravated assault, sexual assault causing bodily harm, forcible confinement and failing to provide the necessaries of life.
The boy's 38-year-old stepmother was found guilty of assault with a weapon and failing to provide the necessaries of life.
The pair cannot be named due to a publication ban that protects the boy's identity. He is now 14 years old.
'Half-starved, burned and battered'
Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Maranger said Monday that the video evidence presented in court was unequivocal and overwhelming, and he rejected the defence team's argument that the Mountie was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Last fall, the court was shown several videos from 2013, seized from the Mountie's phone, of the boy naked, crying and restrained in the basement of his family's home.
The videos, made one month before the couple was arrested in February 2013, show the small boy breathing heavily and looking gaunt with his ribs sticking out. A man is heard repeatedly taunting and humiliating the boy, who was tied to the basement wall.
Onlookers inside the courtroom were seen wiping away tears and the last video left Maranger shielding his face.
"This was a very difficult trial. That a parent could do the things that were done to [the victim] was gut-wrenching," Maranger said on Monday in his decision.
"That being said, however, the fact that this half-starved, burned and battered 11-year-old could somehow summon the strength to escape his cruel captivity and later seemingly rise above it, is a testament to the indomitability of the human spirit," Maranger added.
Mountie said he suffers from PTSD
During the trial, the Mountie told court he had been diagnosed with severe PTSD, chronic depression and dissociative personality disorder as a result of the sexual assaults he endured when he was eight years old.
He testified he beat his son because he was experiencing flashbacks of the men he claims sexually assaulted him as a young boy in Lebanon.
He felt "the devil lived" in his son, whom he described as being "morally wrong," volatile and defiant. The Mountie admitted to tying his son up in the basement with chains and plastic ties.
The boy testified he was "scared to death," and that his father would threaten him with a revolver among other punishments, which included hundreds of pushups, praying on his knees for hours and being locked in the bathroom.
Another horrific example of the devastating and inter-generational effects of child sex abuse. It may also reflect the spiritual aspect of child sex abuse.