Former television reporter Ron Bencze was sentenced Tuesday to four years in a federal penitentiary for sexually assaulting a young boy.
Sighs of relief burst from Surrey Provincial Court as Judge Robin Baird made the decision, declaring the Crown's request of two to three years in prison "too lenient."
Bencze, 45, will be locked up for the next four years and has to register as a sex offender. He is also prohibited from using electronic devices to contact minors for the next 10 years and from going to such public areas as parks, schoolgrounds, playgrounds, community centres and daycare centres for the next 20 years.
Until Tuesday, Bencze had been on bail for 18 months, unable to live at home with his wife and three children and only able to visit his children while supervised.
Bencze was arrested on January 2011 and later charged with nine sexual offenses related to three children. He pleaded guilty in July to one count of sexual assault involving a boy, who is now 14.
The sexual acts between Bencze and the complainant included sexual touching, masturbation and fellatio, as well as sexually explicit text messages.
The judge reiterated statements the complainant and his mother made previously regarding the activity.
"When the abuse began, I was young and was ongoing for years through my adolescence," wrote the complainant. "I feel that I have missed out on a childhood that was meant for me, not the tainted one that I have experienced."
He wrote, "I'm trying to live and behave as a normal, average teenager," but added that he has had troubles at home, school and with making friends.
"Our son has lost his innocence," wrote the complainant's mother. "Our son is embarrassed by this subject and has had his pride taken away."
Bencze was given a psychiatric evaluation and was deemed not to be a pedophile with a low risk to reoffend. When asked at the time about the sexual aspect of his relationship with the complainant, Bencze said he "wanted to please him" and that being with him made Bencze become "more of a child."
"I think the complainant filled a void," he said at the time.
He later acknowledged the moral impact of his actions and admitted to being angry with himself for thinking such contact was OK. However, he also claimed that the complainant initiated the sexual relationship.
"The level of the accused's recklessness and abandon is alarming," said Judge Baird. He did note that Bencze had no prior criminal record and said, "He was a normal adult with a normal background who should have known better."
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