VERNON – The “controlling and manipulative” Okanagan man believed he had the blessing of the Bible when he beat his children.
But a judge says that doesn’t excuse criminal conduct and he sentenced the man to 4.5 years imprisonment.
The assaults took place in the family home at or near Armstrong between October 2009 and August 2012 when the three children were between the ages of 18 months and four years.
Their father, identified in court documents as L.I., would frequently hit the children with a nine inch long wooden comb, or his hands, causing bruises and welts.
On one occasion, L.I. pinned his two-year-old son to the floor and covered his mouth and nose until the child’s face turned red.
The man’s anger was triggered by incidents as trivial as the children saying “gonna” instead of “going to”.
When his wife tried to stop the abuse, the offender shushed her saying: “This is the way the Bible tells us to treat children. Otherwise, they will become liars and prostitutes.”
L.I. was also convicted of sexual assault for raping his wife numerous times when she refused his advances.
In her Victim Impact Statement, she says the years of abuse have left her with severe anxiety, fear of men, an eating disorder and consistent neck pain from being hit so often.
She says her children also continue to suffer anxiety, nightmares, low self-esteem and a lot of anger.
In handing down the prison sentence, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Frank Cole said: “Unfortunately, the offender has no insight into his cruel and selfish behaviour. The principles of denunciation and deterrence are paramount in this case.”
The judge also noted: “The offender fails to understand that violence, especially when dealing with young children, will most likely only teach them that people that love them have a right to hurt them.”
A pre-sentence psychological assessment stated: “Mr. I.’s main risks for violence appear to be attributable to his historic violent behaviour in the setting of his intimate relationships contributed to by personality dysfunction and interpersonal deficit.”
The assessment also concluded L.I. does not display insight or remorse for his actions.
“His presentation suggests psychological treatment might be difficult given his personality structure.”
The 42 year-old-man is a former pastor who did missionary work in Africa.