Thursday, June 02, 2005

Bakker Pleads Guilty to Sex Tourism in Vancouver

Donald Bakker, the first person to potentially face a trial under Canada's new sex tourism law, has pleaded guilty to 10 counts of sexual assault. Three of the pleas involved attacks on women in British Columbia, the rest involved children in Asian countries.

Bakker, 40, a former employee of Vancouver Pan Pacific Hotel, was originally charged with 22 counts of assault involving adult prostitutes and 16 counts related to children in a foreign country. He avoided a trial by entering the pleas.

On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to seven counts of sexual interference with children under the age of 14 in southeast Asia, and three counts of sexual assault involving three B.C. prostitutes. His lawyer, Kevin McCullough, and the Crown prosecutor have jointly asked for a 10-year prison sentence.

Bakker has already served 18 months in jail, which would count as double time, meaning he would have seven more years in prison if the judge accepts the request. The sentencing hearing will take place on Thursday.

Enacted in June 2002, the federal law allows Canada to prosecute sex offences committed by Canadians in a foreign country, regardless of that country's laws.

Source: CBC