"I want my family back. I've had enough of my punishment. I’ll stop lying … I’ll show you I can change. I’m going to keep my locks as tight as possible on my feet.”
The Ottawa courtroom was completely silent as the videos of a naked and weeping 11-year-old boy pleading with his father were shown. The father, a 44-year-old Royal Mounted Police officer stationed in Kanata, Ontario, had been systematically torturing the boy in the basement of their house while the rest of the family proceeded with their daily lives upstairs. The boy had been kept shackled with only a slop bucket to relieve himself. Unable to be identified to protect the identity of the victim, the boy's father and stepmother are now on trial for aggravated assault, forcible confinement, and failure to provide necessities of life. The father has also been charged with sexual assault and three counts of assault with a weapon. They are both out on bail and forbidden to communicate and the father has been suspended without pay.
The abuse came to light on February 12, 2013 when the boy, who weighed only fifty pounds at the time, managed to escape his chains to find water. After being found by authorities, he was taken to hospital where medical doctors were shocked at his appearance. According to reports, he was on the verge of starving to death. Even when questioned by police, the boy continued to defend his father and insist that his own behaviour had provoked the abuse. "My dad is in the RCMP. He would know," he later said.
The forty-five minutes of video recording the abuse were seized from the father's phone on the day of his arrest, just hours after the boy was found. The father is heard demanding that the boy confess his "sins", including kissing a girl while they were in a tree together. "“You haven’t repented yet! You will weep blood for what you have done. I don’t see you on your knees yet,” the father tells his son in the video, excerpts of which have already been presented in court. The graphic abuse seen on the screen was enough to leave even hardened prosecutors and investigators to tears.
Under cross-examination, the father admitted to confining his son in the basement and subjecting him to abuse such as burning his genitals because he though he was possessed. "I thought the devil was inside him," he told the court. "I saw his eyes and heard his voice." He also said that the abuse began because he had "run out of options" in controlling the boy's unruly behaviour, which apparently included refusing to do his homework.
The defendant also recruited his brother, a priest, to conduct an exorcism on the boy sometime before September, 2012. The priest has already defended his brother though he admitted not seeing this problem behaviour himself and relying solely on his brother's description. His testimony contained numerous inconsistencies and he claimed memory problems because of his "professional habit" of flushing away facts heard during confession.
The trial is proceeding.