A retired Orillia OPP constable was sentenced Friday to six years in jail on three sex charges.
Jim Hewitt, 73, sat in a Barrie courtroom and listened to victim impact statements during his sentencing hearing. He was found guilty of sexual assault, sexual interference and sexual exploitation in February.
The victim’s identity is protected under a publication ban.
According to the charges, Hewitt raped the victim multiple times per week over a number of years, starting when the victim was 12 years old. Her victim impact statement was read to the court by Crown attorney Michelle Levasseur.
“He was a police officer, and I trusted him,” the victim wrote in her statement. “I had to be available to him as his sex toy. You are the monster that visits me in my dreams.”
In the statement, the victim said she has received a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety and takes medication for both. She said she had signed up for college this past September, but after a failed suicide attempt due to the stress of the upcoming trial, she was forced to drop out.
“You should have been charged with murder because you killed a part of me,” she wrote.
The victim’s mother also made a victim impact statement before the court.
“I have lost my baby girl,” she said. “We are no longer as close as we once were, and I don’t know if we can ever repair our relationship.”
“I can’t even allow my mind to think about what you did to her for all those years. It makes me sick,” she said. “You were a police officer. You abused the power of your badge.”
“You have showed no remorse for your actions. You should be ashamed of yourself,” she said.
While the charges are not related to Hewitt’s service as an OPP officer, the fact that he had worked as an officer with the Ontario Provincial Police for 42 years was brought up many times during the sentencing hearing both by the Crown, as an aggravating factor to be considered, and the defence, as a reason for leniency.
“Mr. Hewitt was a police officer. Outside of this one horrific facet of his life, he did lead an exemplary life,” said Levasseur, adding Hewitt still expresses no remorse and hasn't accepted any responsibility. “That does not mean he should get a lesser sentence. He tore that family apart.”
Defence attorney Kim Miles said many OPP officers struggle with mental health due to the nature of things they see on the job, and that Hewitt is no exception.
“Any sentence will be harder on him than any other member of society by virtue of his past employment,” said Miles.
Levasseur agreed that jail will be challenging for Hewitt, but said it shouldn’t be considered a reason to lessen his sentence.
“It’s meant to be challenging. It’s meant to denounce his reprehensible conduct in terms of what he did to (the victim),” said Levasseur.
Character reference letters were submitted by the defence on Hewitt’s behalf, which was raised by the Crown during her submissions.
“It is concerning that we have reference letters from filed by individuals, some of whom may actually be police officers but at the very least are involved in the police community, who appear to have made a judgment on the innocence of Mr. Hewitt despite not having been here for the trial or heard the evidence your honour has heard,” said Levasseur.
The Crown had asked for a seven- to eight-year sentence. The defence had asked for three to five years.
Both the Crown and defence agreed on other conditions of Hewitt’s sentence, including that he be added to the sex offender registry, be prohibited from attending public places upon his release, a DNA order and a 10-year weapons prohibition. Judge Robert Charney granted those conditions as well in his sentence.https://www.orilliamatters.com/local-ne ... es-1336132