The owner of a Val Caron restaurant will spend 90 days in jail, intermittently, after he pleaded guilty on Thursday to sexual assault and sexual exploitation.
Craig Charrier, owner of the Parthenon restaurant, remained silent throughout his sentencing, dressed all in black, and showed no emotion. His guilty plea was expected in May this year, but he was granted time to get his affairs in order before being handed his sentence.
A publication ban was originally imposed on the case, preventing media from revealing information that could identify the victim in any way. However, the victim's family asked on Thursday it be lifted so the community could know the name of the man responsible.
The victim and her family asked that they not be named, but are well aware of the possibility of them being identified through naming Charrier.
According to the agreed statement of facts, on May 5, 2018, Charrier sexually assaulted one of his employees during a catering engagement.
The victim, who had been working at the Parthenon for six months, was 17 at the time of the offence.
The court heard Charrier and the victim were alone at the venue. Charrier touched her for “sexual” purposes, kissed her neck, put his hands down her pants, pulled down her pants and attempted to perform oral sex on her.
The victim voiced her objections the entire time. She called her boyfriend, who drove to the venue with his father to pick her up.
On May 9, 2018, the victim and her family contacted Greater Sudbury Police Service.
On May 25, 2018, she gave a statement to police.
On May 31, 2018, Charrier was arrested.
Through assistant Crown attorney Kara Vakiparta, the victim said she considered her employment at the Parthenon as “extremely rewarding,” coming to think of her coworkers as a second family.
However, that all changed on May 5, 2018, because of Charrier's actions.
Now, she spends a lot of time in isolation and is often paranoid, avoiding the people and activities she once loved. She said she is greatly depressed and suffers from PTSD. She spends weeks at a time feeling numb and disassociated from life, has resorted to destructive behaviours as a coping mechanism, and has developed trust issues with those who are closest to her.
For example, the day after the assault took place, she cut her long hair short, because Charrier had often complimented her on her hair.
Once a straight-A student in school, her grades suffered considerably as a result, barely passing her classes, and often she thought about dropping out of school altogether.
“I've lost the ability to be the cheerful girl I once was,” she said in her statement. “Constant flashbacks, nightmares and a complete lack of control over my life have changed me into someone I do not wish to be. I'm tired, and I miss the person I was a year ago.”
The victim's parents also provided statements on how this has affected their lives.
Her father struggled to control his emotions while reading his statement, saying he feels he let down his own daughter by not being able to protect her when she needed it most.
He said he's a peaceful, non-violent and forgiving man, but it took everything he had to not go to the restaurant after he found out what Charrier had done to his daughter and confront him.
“My daughter told me she doesn't trust men anymore, especially authority figures. Imagine my grief as her father. It's heart-breaking. I know my daughter well, and I believe we have a great father-daughter bond, but it saddens and hurts me immensely that I could not help and protect her like a father is supposed to.”
He claims Charrier deliberately groomed his daughter, using his role to trick her into a false sense of security, only to steal her innocence, which she can never get back.
“I love my daughter, and I can never forgive him for what he's done. Craig Charrier should never get another opportunity to commit such a selfish and horrific crime, and to be able to destroy the lives of other unsuspecting young girls.”
Charrier is required to report to Sudbury Jail every Sunday by 9 p.m. and will remain there until Tuesday at 6 a.m. when he is released.
In addition to his jail sentence, Charrier was given two years probation and a number of ancillary orders including a five-year weapon ban, he must surrender a DNA sample, and he is to be on the sex-offender registry for 10 years.
He is to have no communication, or be in the presence of anyone under the age of 18, is not to associate with the victim or her family, and is to remain 100 meters away from her home and her school. He is also required to attend and participate in counselling.
His lawyer, Berk Keaney, said Charrier is a hard-working man who has no excuses for what he did, although his actions were “out of character.”
Keaney said his client has expressed extreme remorse for his action, and knows the family may find that “very shallow.”
Ontario Court Justice André Guay called the joint submission a “highly negotiated resolution” in consultation with the victim's family in order to spare her from having to relive that day through testimony.
He encouraged the victim to try and move on with her life in as best a way she can.
“I don't think (the victim) will ever forget about this, but she has to survive,” Guay said. “She has to live out her life, and to absorb this assault, this injury to her life, through no fault of her own. She has to realize the qualities she has, and that not all people she meets will be a threat to her.”