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Babysitter jailed for sexually assaulting boy

Woman, 40,  handed 2 1/2 years  for multiple sexual encounters

CCRC Editor's Note: Notice the discriminatory wording if the sexual offender is female and the child sexually assaulted is male. The use of the words "affair", "relationship", "sexual encounter".  Notice that she didn't get jail time. The female judge agreed that the offender should get  2 1/2 years in jail and then gave her time "in the community", effectively no sentence. The female sexual assaulter also blamed her actions on her ex-husband and the boy victim, a common pattern these days in which female perpetrators of domestic violence are told they are always the victim.

The Chronicle Herald, Halifax, N.S., January 19, 2008, by Jennifer Stewart, Court Reporter

For months Pamela Ruth Collins bonded with the 12-year-old boy she was hired to babysit.

But that's not all the former Halifax woman was doing.

Ms. Collins, 40, was sentenced Monday to 2½ years in prison for seducing the now 15-year-old Halifax boy into having sex with her on dozens of occasions between July 1, 2004, and May 20, 2005.

Outside court, senior Crown attorney Chris Nicholson said he was pleased the judge realized the gravity of the offences - two charges of sexual assault and one of sexual interference.

"They were serious breaches of trust, sexual intercourse with a young boy who was under her care," said Mr. Nicholson, adding this is the first time he's prosecuted a woman for this type of crime.

He said his recommendation for at least two years in prison seemed "appropriate" in this case.

As a first-time offender at a low risk to reoffend, Ms. Collins was eligible for a short sentence to be  served in the community.

However, Mr. Nicholson said, if a man committed a similar offence, he would almost certainly get prison time.

"In these days of equality, it shouldn't make any difference" if the defendant is male or female, he said.

The judge agreed.

In her decision, Justice Margaret Stewart said it was hard to ignore the fact that Ms. Collins still hasn't taken responsibility for her actions.

Instead the judge said, Ms. Collins is blaming her estranged husband and the boy, claiming they conspired to get her into trouble after the family moved to New Brunswick and her marriage fell apart.

This was not an "explainable lapse of judgment," Justice Stewart said, rather it was "calculated and premeditated."

"She knew right from wrong and was prepared to take the risk."

Ms. Collins was hired in January 2004 to care for the boy after school and on weekends. He regularly stayed for supper, spent the night and tagged along on family vacations.

The sex didn't begin until that summer, when Ms. Collins's husband began making business trips to New Brunswick.

During a weeklong trial last July, the boy testified he and Ms. Collins had sex as many as 100 times at her home, in her car and at the boy's home, including oral sex on several occasions.

The almost year-long relationship continued even after Ms. Collins and her family moved to Moncton in September 2004. The mother of three, who now has two Read More ..ildren from another relationship, had almost daily contact with the boy via phone and webcam.

Although family members were suspicious, the pair weren't caught until the boy's mother stumbled on to a suggestive online conversation her son was having with Ms. Collins in May 2005.

At first the boy denied everything, but eventually he came clean.

A presentence report said Ms. Collins still denies they had sex, although she testified they had a close relationship.

The ordeal has affected the boy's relationship with his mother and caused him to mature well before his time, the Crown said.

"It has changed the way I look at things and at people," Mr. Nicholson read from the boy's victim impact statement.

When Ms. Collins addressed the court, she apologized to the boy and his family, and said she hopes he is able to recover.

Her lawyer Peter Mancini and her family declined comment.

As part of the sentence, Ms. Collins must submit a DNA sample and register as a sex offender. She is also banned from owning any weapons for the next 10 years.