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Crown Ward Graduates to Crime

January 22, 2009 permalink

The queen, acting through her servants in children's aid, is both the mother and grandmother of Alan Cory Esquega, a second-generation crown ward. The Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal describes the results of their "care".



Man jailed for brutal attack

By SARAH ELIZABETH BROWN, Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Standing in a wooden prisoner‘s box, a young man who brutalized and sexually assaulted an elderly Thunder Bay woman in her own home leaned forward and softly apologized Tuesday.

“I‘d like to say I‘m sorry for my actions,” 20-year-old Alan Cory Esquega told Justice Patrick Smith of Superior Court. “I know I have a history of violence.”

Esquega, who was sentenced to a total of 14 years in prison – minus the usual double credit for time already served – asked if he could serve his time at Kingston Penitentiary.

Smith told him he doesn‘t have any say over where he does his time, just how much he gets.

Esquega‘s effective sentence will be 11 1/2 years.

“This case is absolutely tragic,” said Smith. “Two lives have effectively been ruined. . . . the effects of this heinous attack have undoubtedly robbed (the victim) of the peace and happiness that she was entitled to enjoy in the last years of her life.”

No sentence would be enough to compensate for what happened to her, Smith said.

Calling the 14 years “an ultimately fair sentence,” defence counsel George Joseph noted the range for home invasions goes up to life in prison. Smith‘s decision was a fair one given Esquega‘s lack of a substantial criminal background, he said.

Esquega earlier pleaded guilty to unlawful confinement, uttering death threats, robbery, aggravated assault, two counts of breaching probation and sexual assault.

Joseph said it was the toughest case he‘s ever defended.

“This is the kind of case that tests the justice system,” he said. “I think today, this was an example of how it works.”

Esquega has been in custody sine his arrest 10 days after he stepped through the back door of a south-side Thunder Bay home on Aug. 21, 2007. The 87-year-old woman inside later told police from her hospital bed that she told him she would get him some money, and retrieved $75 from her purse.

Esquega pushed the woman toward the basement and she fell down the stairs. In the basement, he thrust a stick into her ear, struck her repeatedly and burned her with a hot iron. The woman was sexually assaulted and tied up.

She could have died if she hadn‘t untied herself and crawled upstairs to call 911, Smith noted.

The woman was found with bruising, scratches, a broken wrist and swelling all over her body.

While he said he hoped Esquega can get help and treatment while in prison, Smith said he has reservations of that happening given comments in the pre-sentence report and assessments.

Esquega started drinking at age 15 and displays delays in speech, communication, scholastic achievement and socialization. He loses control under stress and has a high risk to reoffend, the reports say.

It‘s suspected he suffers from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, but he has refused testing.

The pre-sentence report author said Esquega has a history of compulsive and aberrant behaviour, and described one incident at age eight when Esquega poured oil on a dog, set it on fire and watched it die.

Smith outlined Esquega‘s early years – born to a mother in and out of dysfunctional relationships marred by substance abuse and violence before being handed over to extended family.

Esquega and his three siblings were eventually placed in foster care. Before being made a Crown ward, Esquega bounced through 16 foster homes. His mother had also been a foster child and ward of the state.

That Esquega has been severely disadvantaged in life from birth wouldn‘t be overstating the facts, Smith said.

But, Smith said in his 24-page decision, “These crimes are heinous, incomprehensible and shocking given the degree of cruelty, violence and sadism exhibited by Mr. Esquega towards the victim.”

Calling the attack “absolutely senseless,” Smith asked why Esquega didn‘t simply take the money the woman gave to him and leave.

“What compelled him to beat, terrify and repeatedly violate a defenceless person with whom he had no prior contact except to gratify himself in some perverse way?

“With respect to Mr. Esquega‘s aboriginal heritage and background, this is a case where the violence and seriousness of the crime dictates that, as a practical matter, an appropriate sentence will not differ as between aboriginal and non-aboriginal offenders,” Smith wrote.

Source: Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal