Luke Strimbold, right, enters the Smithers courthouse May 6 with his lawyer Stan Tessmer, to plead guilty to four sexual assault charges. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

Former Burns Lake mayor gets two years for sexual assaults against minors

The Crown is seeking four to six years federal time; the defence wants 18 months in provincial jail

The former mayor of Burns Lake has been sentenced to two years in jail, less one day, after pleading guilty to four counts of sexual assault involving boys under the age of 16.

Luke Strimbold entered his guilty plea in May. Justice Brenda Brown heard arguments from both Crown and defence on Nov. 26, but reserved her decision till Wednesday.

Strimbold had initially faced 29 charges including sexual assault, sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching involving boys under the age of 16. The B.C. Prosecution Service agreed to stay 25 of them after Strimbold was sentenced.

READ MORE: Former Burns Lake mayor pleads guilty to four sex assault charges

Before her sentencing decision, Brown noted her chief goals were deterrence. She said Strimbold used his position of trust and authority to take advantage of the young victims.

Brown said she was sentencing Strimbold to 12 months for the first count, seven months for the second, and 2.5 months each for the third and fourth counts. The sentence will add up to two years, less one day, the judge said, and be served consecutively.

The former mayor will have a two year probation after his sentence and will be banned from taking work involving young people for five years.

Strimbold will have to submit DNA, be placed on the sex offender registry and will be under a firearms ban.

Prosecutor Richard Peck had argued for a four to six year sentence saying the Criminal Code clearly makes denunciation and deterrence the overriding principle of sentencing in cases where children are involved.

He acknowledged mitigating circumstances such as Strimbold’s early guilty plea and lack of criminal record, but said the minimum for each count should be 12 to 18 months based on case law.

Strimbold’s counsel, Stanley Tessmer, had said that at the time of his offences, the former mayor did not recognize that what he was doing was wrong due to his own history of sexual abuse, repressed homosexuality and addiction to alcohol. Tessmer outlined the steps Strimbold has taken, including extensive counselling, to address his issues and pointed to a psychological report that assessed Strimbold as being a low risk to reoffend.

Tessmer had asked for a global sentence of 18 months, nine months on the first count and three months each on the others .

READ MORE: Judge reserves sentencing decision in Luke Strimbold sex assault case

More to come.


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