Former Church Leader Sentenced

By Richard Vivian
Independent & Free Press
July 11, 2008

A former Hockley Valley religious leader will spend four years in jail for historical sex crimes involving teenaged girls. Seventy-year-old Robert Young was sentenced in a Peterborough courtroom July 4.

He pleaded guilty in January, on the eve of trial, to six charges; two counts of sexual assault, gross indecency, indecent assault, sexual intercourse with a person under 16 years of age, and rape.

Assistant Crown Attorney Jim Hughes says the two sexual assault charges relate to Young's time as a youth group leader at Hockley Valley Bible Chapel.

There were a total of three victims, he notes, all between the ages of 14 and 18.

"The court found that the accused breached his trust in all three complaints — the nature of the relationship he had with them," Hughes said, who wasn't directly involved with the case. "Submissions put to the judge by the Crown suggested a sentence of three to four years."

Dufferin OPP say police in Peterborough handled the investigation. Hughes confirms the third victim is from that area.

"Abuse of any kind is intolerable to us. When it happens to children it becomes especially repugnant," says Rev. Mark Condon, who wasn't at Hockley Valley Bible Chapel at the time of the incidents.

"We're glad he's not going to be able to do it anymore and I think, from a Christian standpoint, he's going to have to answer a little differently regardless of how much [jail] time he does here."

Because Young's crimes happened so long ago, Condon says many of the people involved with the church at that time are no longer part of the congregation.

In addition to jail time, Superior Court Justice David Salmers order Roberts to provide a DNA sample for a national database and to register as a sex offender for the next 20 years.

He was further banned from parks, swimming pools and seeking employment in places where children could reasonably be expected, until Roberts reaches his 85th birthday.

Salmers' sentencing took 45 minutes to deliver.


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