A man caught seeking sex with a teenager in a Creep Catchers-type sting operation has been handed a two-year jail sentence.
Raymond Christopher Scott Dewell, 44, pleaded guilty in provincial court in Nanaimo on Thursday to counts of sexual interference of a person under 16 and arranging and agreeing on a sexual offence against a child. Nick Barber, Crown counsel, and James Wright, Dewell’s legal counsel, both sought a two-year jail sentence and Judge Justine Saunders sentenced Dewell to a total of two years in jail, with a 30-month probation order.
The offences relate to a February 2018 incident in which Dewell was caught in an online vigilante group sting operation, soliciting sexual acts with a person he thought was a 13-year-old girl. During the sting, it was revealed he had engaged in sexual intercourse with two minors in an August 2017 incident leading to a police investigation. The circumstances and identities of the minors are protected.
Barber said “bizarrely,” Dewell was under the impression the incidents were initiated by the minors.
Wright said a “moderate mental handicap,” major depression disorder, avoidance personality disorder, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder are amongst issues affecting Dewell.
According to a pre-sentence report, Dewell said he had a childhood that was “brutal” and he was exposed to pornography at an early age.
Dewell addressed the judge before being sentenced and apologized for his actions. In her ruling, Saunders noted Dewell had entered guilty pleas and taken responsibility for his actions and had been up front to the authors of the report.
As part of the probation order, Dewell will not be allowed any direct or indirect contact with the victims. He will not be allowed near schools, daycare centres, swimming pools, community centres or anywhere where there may be people 16 years old or under, unless he has permission from his probation officer.
He won’t be allowed to possess any device with access to the internet and will be required to register as a sex offender.