Man sentenced for luring 13-year-old in Gananoque

The back entrance to the courthouse in Brockville, Ont. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

WARNING: This story contains details of a sexual nature and may be disturbing to some readers. Discretion is advised.

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BROCKVILLE – A Brampton man will spend nearly three and a half years in prison for sexually luring a 13-year-old girl in the Gananoque area on the internet.

Anthony Bowers, 34, was found guilty in March 2021 on two counts of luring a child and one count of possession of child pornography following a trial. He was arrested in August 2019 following a two month investigation by the Gananoque Police Service and the OPP Child Sexual Exploitation Unit.

Judge Richard T. Knott sentenced Bowers on Friday (Dec. 31) to 42 months in prison. With one month credit for strict bail conditions, Bowers was given an overall sentence of 41 months. The child luring charges fetched 36 months to be served concurrently while the child porn possession was an additional five month consecutive sentence after credit.

In his decision, Knott says the online relationship between Bowers and the minor went on for “months” and was “very sexual in nature.” Court heard how the online meeting continued with an undercover police officer after the complainant had gone to police.

“Nude photographs were exchanged. The accused asked for and received videos from the young person. He told her he masturbated to the videos. He sent her links to graphic online pornography,” Knott stated.

While the collection of child pornography was small, Knott said it was “disturbing because it was new and original of a known young person.” The judge explained how the offender would ask the victim for nude photos and have her “pose and do things sexually to herself.”

Knott says the online chat was “graphic and degrading at times.” There was talk of the two meeting but the judge says, based on the evidence, there was doubt in his mind it would happen. “There was a risk the parties might have met in the future, but meeting was not factor in this case.”

Knott noted the girl still struggles with what happened. “I’m aware that serious harm can be caused even if there was no physical violence…in her victim impact statement, she has paranoia about running into him in public, being abducted by him. She has an inability to concentrate at school…humiliation at school if people found out what happened.”

“There is no doubt the offender’s actions had a significant negative impact on the complainant and that impact will continue for a significant period of time, if not her whole life. The offender used the young person for his sexual gratification.”

The victim’s identity is protected by a Section 486.4 publication ban under the Criminal Code.

Knott says Bowers has the potential for rehabilitation. Bowers was dealing with a number of stressful issues in his life at the time of the offence, including a failed marriage, the death of his father from cancer and some unspecific financial issues. But Knott said that doesn’t excuse his actions.

“I accept his expression of remorse as sincere. He appears contemplative, remorseful and thoughtful,” Knott noted.

The Crown had sought four and a half years in prison while defence wanted 14-17 months.

In addition to the sentence, Bowers will be on the national sex offender registry for life. There’s a no-contact order with the victim and a 10 year order that Bowers not attend parks or swimming areas where people younger than 16 attend.

He’s also not allowed to use the internet to access any illegal content, pornography, social media sites or to maintain a profile on a social media site like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or similar service for 10 years.