BY KEITH LACEY
Noting childhood victims of sexual abuse by adults almost always suffer emotional and psychological scars for the rest of their lives, a Sudbury judge sent a former Sudbury social worker to jail for six months Wednesday for abusing a 14-year-old girl under her care during the summer of 2004.
Justice William Fitzgerald rejected a request by assistant Crown attorney Karen Lische to send Andrea Roy, 34, to jail for 18 months, calling that request excessive, but also rejected a plea by defence counsel William Beach that Roy be given a conditional sentence of house arrest and probation.
During a trial last year, Fitzgerald found Roy guilty of two counts of sexual assault and one count of sexual exploitation relating to three incidents that took place within a short time frame.
The incidents included kissing and fondling and inappropriate sexual touching near a lake. The girl testified during one incident she felt sick to her stomach after Roy kissed her and made sexual advances during her 14th birthday party.
All the incidents took place while Roy was working in her capacity as a social worker and the girl was under her direct care.
Case law clearly indicates a jail sentence is called for whenever an adult interferes with the sexual integrity of a child, said Fitzgerald.
The fact Roy was in a position of trust as a social worker is deeply troubling, he said.
Victims of childhood sexual abuse are ?robbed of their innocence? and often remained scarred for life emotionally, he said.
?A period of their life that should be filled with joy and wonder...is replaced by anxiety and fear,? said Fitzgerald.
On top of the jail sentence, Roy was placed on probation for three years. She was ordered to continue counseling and treatment.
She was also ordered to provide a DNA sample, prohibited from owning or possessing weapons for 10 years and her name will be placed on a national sex offender registry.
Fitzgerald said a pre-sentence report indicates Roy was seeking assistance and was a good candidate for rehabilitation once her sentence expires.
He noted, however, she doesn?t seem to grasp the amount of damage she?s caused to her victim.
The victim ?was extremely troubled and fragile and knowing this, she preyed on her anyway,? said Fitzgerald.
Roy showered the girl with attention and praise, gained her trust and then betrayed her for her own sexual gratification, he said.
The fact Roy has no previous criminal record, has managed to get a solid education and work record despite coming from a dysfunctional background where she left home at a young age, are all mitigating factors, said the veteran judge.
?She managed to rise above her demons? and succeed in life until this serious incident, he said.
It?s clear there are many support systems for Roy in place and she has shown every indication to continue accessing them. The victim, this community and society in general, however, would be upset if a conditional sentence were granted under these troubling circumstances, he said.