A 26-year-old man has been sentenced to nine years for a raping and choking a woman in Regina in May 2015.
Kenton Desjarlais pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault for the attack that happened in a back alley near the city’s downtown.
It was a random attack and added more anxiety to the victim given that he is HIV-positive.
“My life was turned upside down,” the 28-year-old wrote in her victim impact statement. “My choices were taken away from me against my will, how vulnerable that makes me feel.”
The woman was walking through the back alley of the Hotel Saskatchewan close to midnight on the night of the attack. Desjarlais approached her on a bicycle. She rejected his verbal advances and he then overpowered her.
She fought back by scratching at his face, he put his hands around her neck and strangled her until she lost consciousness. When she came to, he was beginning the rape and stopped only when interrupted by a passerby.
Because of her attacker’s HIV-positive status, she was forced to take a powerful cocktail of drugs, have numerous blood tests and visit medical specialists. It would take months before she would know if she had contracted the disease.
“I felt my body shut down, limb by limb, muscle by muscle, then my bladder, my lungs, my voice, my lips, my eyelids … then my mind,” the victim wrote. “The attack brought down my self-confidence, it promotes fear instead of independence, creates vulnerabilities where there was strength and promotes anxiety where there was peace.”
She went on to write that her fear and anxiety is so strong she would likely move if Desjarlais was back out on Regina’s streets one day.
Stemming from family violence and drug and alcohol abuse, Desjarlais had 60 charges to his name and abused drugs himself. He was also a victim of rape. Desjarlais described himself as “impulsive with an explosive temper.”
Defence lawyer James Struthers had asked for five years with the Crown pushing for 12.
“The family are happy with the fact that this part of their lives is over, that this is some semblance of closure, I don’t think, certainly the victim, will get full closure,” Crown lawyer Chris White said outside Regina’s Court of Queen’s Bench. “It was committed against an unsuspecting innocent stranger minding her own business, that victim could have been anyone, that victim could have been any young lady walking home after the bar at night.”
Desjarlais received 334 days credit for time served but it’s a case-by-case basis when he can go before the National Parole Board.