WARNING: This article contains graphic details.
A Vancouver Island man who fondled a nine-year-old girl’s genitals and who possessed more than 12,000 items of child pornography has been sentenced to three years in a federal prison.
Steven James Houting, 47, pleaded guilty to sexual interference and possession of child porn in 2019 and was sentenced by Judge Ronald Lamperson in provincial court in Nanaimo today, Feb. 19.
Houting admitted to sexually assaulting the girl in a changing room at a Nanaimo rec centre in 2018. He had the girl change into a bikini he bought her and insisted on being present while she changed, then pulled open the bikini bottom and molested her.
After the victim disclosed the incident, a warrant was executed and the RCMP investigation uncovered more than 12,000 images and videos of child pornography stored on Houting’s electronic devices, material which Lamperson referred to as disturbing.
At Friday’s sentencing hearing, the victim’s mother addressed the court and talked about how her daughter, now 12, was once outgoing and funny, but is tormented by the incident every day and suffers from extreme anxiety. She’s afraid to go outside out of fear she may see Houting, the mother said.
The judge handed down a sentence of 18 months for sexual touching and 18 months for child porn for a total of 36 months to be served in a federal penitentiary.
Citing a pre-sentence report, Lamperson said Houting has had difficulties with depression and his coping skills have been poor.
Addressing the court, Houting apologized and said he took full responsibility for his actions.
In addition to jail time, Lamperson ordered that Houting register as a sex offender and, be banned for 10 years from attending a park, swimming pool, school, day-care centre, community centre or anywhere children could be present.
Houting must stay away from the victim and cannot be in communication with anyone under 16 years of age. He may not use a computer or the internet to access anything illegal nor maintain any social media profiles.
Neither Brett Webber, Crown counsel, and Peter Hertzberg, defence counsel, wished to comment.
The mother said she was satisfied with the sentence as it will be served in a federal prison.