Peeping Tom sentenced to house arrest

The front entrance to the Cornwall courthouse at 29 Second Street West. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – A North Glengarry man has been sentenced to five months house arrest and ordered to make restitution to his victim for stalking a woman in March 2017.

Roderick Welburn, 57, was sentenced Friday (June 20) after pleading guilty in November to criminal harassment and breach of recognizance.

The sentence was, more of less, a joint submission by the Crown and defence lawyer Ian Paul, although Crown attorney Elaine Evans argued for and was granted a lengthy probationary period for Welburn.

He will be on house arrest for the first three months and then will be subject to a curfew for the final two months.

It’s hoped that the conditions of his probation, which include following rules set by the probation officer in terms of counseling, will allow specialists to figure out and treat Welburn’s affliction.

Crown attorney Elaine Evans, referring to a pre-sentence report and a mental health assessment, found it “concerning” the reasons why Welburn did what he did were “unclear” and “unidentified.”

“There’s no real answer as to why this happened,” Evans said, “and there doesn’t seem to be any real insight or understanding or acknowledgment. There just seems to be a blank, if you will, as to why this offence happened and as to what the root causes of that behaviour were.”

Evans also wanted the lengthy probation, which includes a no-contact order with the victim including being within 250 meters of any place she might be, in order to give the woman peace of mind.

Court heard Welburn had slipped into a period of depression after his mother died and had turned to alcohol. He had been a law-abiding citizen until the problems last year.

A doctor’s assessment had concluded that Welburn was at a low risk to re-offend. The report concluded the Welburn had “a delusional belief that the woman he spied on wanted to be in a relationship with him” and “he was sexually interested in spying on the woman” or “has some form of courtship disorder.”

Court heard that Welburn had been a Peeping Tom, preying upon the woman, who lived alone. The victim is now on edge all the time, afraid to be alone, and had to install a nearly $2,000 security system on her property.

It took SD&G O.P.P. some time to profile and identify the perpetrator, relying on tire tracks, footprints and cigarette butts near the scene outside the isolated home on County Road 24 near Dunvegan.

Welburn is described as having a “stable romantic relationship” and has had a job for 20 years with an Alexandria company, although performance issues cropped up in the last two years.

“It appears that your difficulties at work coincide with the problems that bring you before the court,” Judge Diane Lahaie said.

While Welburn was described as pro-social and that he had no criminal history, Lahaie said there are “unanswered questions” about his actions. “I note that the Employee Assistant Program (at work) was offered to you and you did avail yourself of those services but those sessions were limited. There is no evidence that you are taking any steps toward you rehabilitation since then.”

In addition to his two years probation, Welburn has to submit a DNA sample and is subject to a 10 year weapons ban and will have to go to sexual behaviour counseling as directed by the probation officer. The court felt the DNA sample was well warranted given the lengths the O.P.P. had to go to in identifying him.

Welburn also has to make restitution of $1,831 for the victim’s security system.

“There is no doubt in the court’s mind that you have a problem and that you are not at the stage of accepting that you have that problem,” Judge Lahaie said.