Incomprehensible Paternal Care
"In his father's eyes, he was nothing."
"The extreme violence and psychological degradation was beyond comprehension."
"This was a breach of the highest form."
"This was a very difficult trial. That a parent could do the things that were done to [this boy] was gut-wrenching.""The fact that this half-starved, burned and battered 11-year-old could somehow summon up the strength to escape his cruel captivity, and later seemingly rise above it, is a testament to the indomitability of the human spirit."
Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Maranger
"[I feared my son would stab me in the heart as I slept and feared the] out-of-control [11-year old would rape his wife and beat his other children]. I was 100 per cent convinced of this."The physical scars of the boy's imprisonment in the basement of his parents' home where he was handcuffed, shackled, beaten, tortured, burned and starved as his father punished him for thoughts and intentions he ascribed to his son, will fade over time. The psychological scarring may take a lot longer; his entire life. The ten-month-long trial that ended in November with the finding of guilt on the part of both the boy's natural father and his step-mother was followed by a sentencing hearing.
"I was living with the devil at home. I had an enemy in front of me. Me and my son were at war."
"I didn’t care for anybody’s feelings except my own … the pain he was putting me in … I was in pain and fear the whole time."
"I hit him. Before the hitting, I burned him [with a barbecue lighter] because I felt the devil lived in him. I needed to defend myself. I was facing something scary."
(former) RCMP officer, 44
"You used to always tell me that two plus two equalled four. If you take all of the multiples of four, that still wouldn't equal all of the people that now care for me and are in my life."
"If one day you stop thinking about yourself, you may realize how wrong what what you did was."
RCMP officer's son, now 15
"This is going to be a long road [to recovery] for him."
"I am very proud of this young child. He's gone through the unimaginable and his strength and perseverance is indescribable."
Detective Johanne Marelic
The former RCMP counter-terrorism investigator was sentenced to fifteen years in prison; with time accounted for his pre-trial custody, he will have thirteen years left to serve. Found guilty of assault, sexual assault, forcible confinement and failing to provide the necessities of life, the presiding judge spoke of the "cruel captivity" the boy -- whose identity is not to be revealed for privacy reasons -- had suffered, sleeping in chains on a cement floor, a slop bucket beside him.
And while this eleven-year-old child in whom his father saw the devil, and everyone else saw a normal boy, was existing in the most inhumane and psychologically wrenching conditions after the death of his natural mother, the rest of the family, father, step-mother and two small children born of the new union, lived normal lives upstairs. Along with the fifteen-year penalty for his abysmal abuse of a child, the father is banned for life from approaching within two kilometres of his son.
Not present at the sentencing, the son had written a note to be given to his father, and while it was read aloud to the court, all fell still, listening to the agony of a young boy who had wanted nothing other than to be restored to his family, to live a predictable normal life, to be rescued from the dungeon in which he was chained and starved. Judge Maranger praised the two investigators, now retired Sgt. Tracy Butler and Det.Johanne Marelic for their work on the shocking case.
The boy now lives with other family members. His maternal grandmother who had asked that the boy be given into her care, lost her appeal when the boy's father, at the mother's death, claimed the privilege of raising his son. And how he raised him! Accusing him of sinning and of sexual deviance, he shackled the boy and lying naked on the basement floor, interrogated him repeatedly, insisting he repent for his sinning ways. The boy responded by appealing to his father: "I want my family back".
When the child finally escaped his captivity he weighed 50 pounds. In February 2013 a neighbour saw the ill-clad boy begging for a drink of water and called authorities. Doctors despaired when they saw the starving child's condition. At trial, the father defended himself as the victim. That his experience as a young boy in war-torn Lebanon had ruined his life. He spoke of his son as a problem child sent to test his mettle, a child he saw as a sexual predator.
A psychiatrist who examined the former RCMP officer, hired by the defence, testified he suffered from "chronic and severe" post-traumatic stress disorder and narcissism. She informed the court that the man made no expression of remorse for the conditions he had inflicted on his son. Teachers, doctors, neighbours and family described the young boy as a normal child with no resemblance whatever to the 'possessed', and 'wild' creature his father held him to be.
What the world and the court saw as crimes perpetrated against a vulnerable child, the parent of the boy described as badly needed discipline.