Tuesday in Prince Albert wasn’t the first time Jared Charles has been involved with crimes against children — he was charged twice last year.
In September, Charles was arrested in an amber alert in La Ronge involving two boys who were 12 and 14 years old at the time — Charles was 18 at the time.
According to Luke Coupal, a La Ronge Crown prosecutor, Charles was charged with abduction in the case, but that was later stayed.
Coupal explained that Charles and the boys knew each other and were hanging out that day. One of the boys called his parents and said he didn’t want to come home, the parents argued, but the boy ended up going with Charles to his grandmother’s house in St. Louis, about 274 kilometres away.
“The parents asked the police to initiate the amber alert, and they found the boys at the grandmother’s house, playing videogames and eating pops and chips,” said Coupal.
Coupal said the situation didn’t meet the legal definition of an abduction.
“Section 281 of the Criminal Code requires that the abductor intend to deprive the guardian of possession of the child. Based on the facts there’s simply no evidence that Jared was trying to deny the parents possession of those children,” he added. “The children, of course, had the ability to phone home, there was no evidence that they were unable to go home if they so chose.”
At the same time, those abduction charges were stayed, Charles pleaded guilty in a sexual interference case from June.
Coupal said the victim, in this case, had been a nine-year-old girl, though he didn’t remember exactly what had happened.
Charles was sentenced to three and a half months of time served, which is just over the 90-day minimum sentence for the crime. The sentence also included three years of probation, counselling, and conditions that he wouldn’t be able to be around kids under 16.
Coupal said he couldn’t comment on why the sentence was so short, but he did say there’s a wide range of what is considered sexual interference.
“On the very minimal end you can have a kiss — a kiss can be a sexual assault if it’s unwarranted and of a sexual nature — whereas then, at the opposite end, you can have full-on penetration with violence and it can be a severe sexual assault,” explained Coupal. “So, based on the evidence the judge has to place the assault somewhere on that spectrum.”
Coupal also said he made sure the judge knew that Charles has a developmental disability, which means he has the mental capacity of a 12 or 13-year-old.
“So, he hangs out with much younger people, and of course that makes it much more difficult for him to interact as he’s getting older and becoming an adult.”
Charles’ mental difficulties would likely have been dealt with in the counselling he was sentenced to in December.