|The law courts are seen in Edmonton on September 19, 2012. (CODIE MCLACHLAN/QMI Agency)
EDMONTON — A local man who physically and mentally abused a two-year-old girl under the guise of discipline — including biting her all over her body — has been put behind bars.
The 26-year-old man, who can only be identified as T.G. under a court-ordered publication ban, was sentenced to 18 months in jail, to be followed by two years of probation, after earlier pleading guilty to assault causing bodily harm.
"The actions of T.G. are deplorable," Judge Robert Philp said in a written decision released Tuesday.
"It is hard to imagine a more innocent victim than a two-year-old child," he said. "Society certainly expects that caretakers of children will treat them with the respect, attention, and kindness that they deserve. Disciplining a child by biting her all over her body is a serious affront to the values of our society."
Court heard T.G. had moved in with the child's mother in July 2011 and immediately began to assert himself as the girl's "disciplinarian."
He implemented a variety of "aggressive and unusual" punishments, including forcing the girl to stand on a chair on her tippy toes with her arms in the air for periods of up to ten minutes, court heard.
He was also observed pinning her down and aggressively shouting at her. During these "disciplinary" sessions, he would bite her on various parts of her body.
Police were called by a neighbour who said she often overheard T.G. yelling and threatening the girl.
The woman told police T.G. was heard yelling: "Whose house is this? Who's the boss? It's my house! I'm the boss! Are you scared? You should be!"
The officers who responded found the girl crying with circular bite marks on both cheeks and bruising under her eyes, across her nose and on her head.
The child's mother then showed an officer other areas of her daughter's body, including her feet and buttocks, that were marked with bruises, all of which were similar to the circle-shaped bite marks observed on her cheeks.
"These bruises were on virtually every area of body."
The offender and the child's mother initially suggested the injuries happened at daycare or while playing with her cousins and friends at home, but the mom later admitted T.G. was responsible.
A victim impact statement revealed the girl, now three years old, will be attending counselling sessions because she's scared to be around men.
Court heard T.G.'s father and grandfather attended residential schools and Philp found the abusive way in which T.G. was disciplined as a child was a result of the abuse his grandfather and father faced in the school system.
"The conduct that aboriginals were subjected to in residential schools is a shameful scar on Canadian history that continues to perpetuate a cycle of violence," Philp said. "T.G.'s actions are not excused by his aboriginal heritage, but they are in part explained by it. He is not absolved of responsibility, but his moral culpability may be reduced."