WARNING: Graphic content
© Gary Kean
Stephen Louvelle is handcuffed and taken into custody in Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in Corner Brook following his conviction for sex offences involving a 12-year-old girl on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013.
CORNER BROOK — Stephen Andrew Louvelle may have been found not guilty of jumping on and punching a 12-year-old girl’s stomach in an attempt to terminate her suspected pregnancy, but he will spend time in prison for having a sexual relationship with her.
The man from St. George’s would have been 21 years old when he was involved with the young girl, who said she had a relationship involving sexual intercourse with Louvelle that went on for several months in 2007.
At one point during their relationship, the girl believed she had become pregnant. Rather than seeking professional medical help, the court heard, the girl consented to Louvelle jumping on her abdomen in an attempt to conceal and terminate the pregnancy.
Justice Alan Seaborn also heard that Louvelle jumped on her and punched her in the abdomen on occasions when the girl said she was not expecting it.
In the end, Seaborn decided there was not enough evidence to prove the attempts to terminate the pregnancy were not consented to, and found Louvelle not guilty of assault.
Despite Louvelle’s denial that he even had a sexual relationship with the girl, Seaborn found him guilty of doing so.
Crown attorney Mike Fox had told the court during his final submissions that, should Seaborn find Louvelle guilty of sexual assault and sexual interference, the Crown would stay the sexual interference charge.
In addition to being convicted of sexual assault, Seaborn also found Louvelle guilty of invitation to sexual touching regarding an incident during which he placed the girl’s hand on his genital area.
This was the second time Louvelle has gone to trial on these charges. In March 2011, a jury found him not guilty of luring a child via a computer, but was unable to reach a verdict on the sex-related and assault charges. The second trial, held before Seaborn in January, was a judge-alone trial.
The judge said there may have been some inconsistencies between the victim’s testimony and statements she gave to police, but those were relatively minor. As for Louvelle, Seaborn said he seemed to be “less than forthcoming” in giving his evidence.
Seaborn said the girl may have exaggerated some of the details and Louvelle may have minimized his relationship with her, but said the evidence proved there had been a sexual relationship between the two.
Fox told Seaborn that he will be seeking a lengthy prison sentence for Louvelle and requested that Louvelle be taken into custody immediately to begin serving his sentence.
Keir O’Flaherty, who defended Louvelle at both trials, asked that his client be permitted his liberty until he is sentenced so he can get his affairs in order and prepare for his pending incarceration. O’Flaherty noted that Louvelle has shown up for every court appearance so far and should be given credit for that.
Fox countered the defence’s argument by noting that Louvelle had always shown up to court to deny the charges against him, but knows the next time he will be leaving court in handcuffs. Seaborn remanded Louvelle into custody.
O’Flaherty has requested that a pre-sentence report be prepared to help the court’s assessment of Louvelle’s personal circumstances before bringing down a sentence.
Submissions on sentencing have been scheduled for April 10.