- Our Town
Man gets prison time in cabin sex abuse case
By Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press
BRIDGEWATER, N.S. - A 65-year-old man was sentenced Tuesday to two years in prison for sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy who testified he was blindfolded and chained to a bed during the ordeal at a remote cabin in Nova Scotia.
The sentencing of John Leonard MacKean of Halifax was the second of two prosecutions in a case that Crown attorney Lloyd Tancock described outside court as being among the most disturbing of his long career.
MacKean had carefully arranged with one of two men who were holding the boy captive to visit the cabin in September 2012 for a paid sexual encounter, Tancock said after the sentencing hearing.
In court, Tancock said MacKean did nothing to assist the frightened young man who testified he was held for eight days at the cabin in Upper Chelsea, about 130 kilometres southwest of Halifax.
It was obvious from the boy's appearance that he was underage, he said.
"It's very disturbing, more so perhaps because of the location," said Tancock. "We hear of this in large centres. These are disturbing facts for a small county and a small province."
MacKean was also sentenced to three years' probation after he serves his time in prison.
The boy has said MacKean performed oral sex on him on Sept. 20, 2012, and that he'd been able to identify the man with his limited view beneath the blindfold as a balding, heavy-set man who wore glasses.
MacKean has admitted he had a sexual encounter with the young man, but denied in court that he knew the boy's age. He said he would have helped the youth if he'd seen signs of distress.
A jury also found MacKean guilty in March of communicating for the purpose of obtaining sexual services from a person under 18, and Judge Richard Coughlan said the sentence includes six months in prison for that offence.
In his sentencing argument, Tancock said MacKean had gone on to request a second encounter with the youth after the initial visit to the cabin.
MacKean showed no emotion as the judge read his decision in the provincial Supreme Court in Bridgewater.
Another man accused in the case was sentenced last June to 11 years in prison.
David James LeBlanc pleaded guilty to kidnapping, forcible confinement, sexual assault, uttering threats and breach of conditions.
LeBlanc was arrested in northern Ontario in September 2012 after a Canada-wide manhunt.
At the time, police were also searching for Wayne Alan Cunningham, 31, whose body was later found near the area where LeBlanc was arrested. Foul play was not suspected in his death.
An agreed statement of facts in LeBlanc's case said he offered the teen a painting job and drove him in a van from Halifax to Lunenburg County on the pretext of picking up supplies.
The youth later escaped and a woman reported seeing a barefoot teenager at her doorstep, chained at his wrists and ankles.
The youth has testified that it was Cunningham who brought MacKean to the cabin, and the Crown submitted a series of text messages showing the two arranging for a sexual encounter.
The mother of the boy, who cannot be identified under a publication ban, said in a victim impact statement that the sexual assault left her son emotionally damaged.
"It has scarred him and it continues to this day to plague and traumatize him," she said, looking directly at MacKean.
She said the young man, who had turned 16 just months before the sexual assault, often cries and sobs for no apparent reason.
He doesn't feel safe and insists on keeping large knives at home, she said.
The boy's mother said her son was frightened when MacKean entered the room where he was confined and didn't know whether he would be assaulted or if the men intended to kill him.
MacKean has damaged her son's future, she said, adding that left her and other members of her family to deal with his trauma.
Defence lawyer Mike Taylor said he agreed with the Crown's recommendation for a two-year sentence, followed by three years of probation, because he felt his client would receive treatment at a federal penitentiary.