Press one of the expand buttons to see the full text of an article. Later press collapse to revert to the original form. The buttons below expand or collapse all articles.
May 2, 2009 permalink
A Sault Ste Marie Ontario teenaged girl was determined to leave her foster home, by hitchhiking if necessary. Instead she ran away with a distant acquaintance, whose interest in the girl was paternal, not sexual. He is being treated as a kidnapper. There is no word on the current whereabouts of the girl.
Timmins man convicted of abuducting child from foster home
COURT: Man tells judge he regrets taking the 15-year-old from Sault Ste. Marie
Posted May 1, 2009
A Timmins man was convicted Thursday of child abduction for transporting a 15-year-old girl from her Sault Ste. Marie foster home to the northern city.
Gregg Thrones, 47, pleaded guilty to the offence, which occurred in February, when he appeared in a Sault Ste. Marie courtroom.
Ontario Court Justice John Kukurin reserved his decision about sentence until Monday, after hearing testimony and legal arguments at a lengthy hearing.
The Crown called for a nine-to- 12-month jail term.
The defence asked the judge to impose a sentence of one-day time served, or alternately a conditional or intermittent sentence.
Kukurin heard the girl, whose mother once had a short relationship with Thrones, went missing from her foster parents' home on Feb. 22.
The teen left a note, indicating she had gone to the YMCA, and urged her foster parents to "please trust I'm not going to do something stupid."
When they couldn't locate the girl at the Y, and after finding MSN messages to her on their computer, they contacted police, prosecutor Bill Johnson said.
A Feb. 17 message clearly was from Thrones and talked about coming to the Sault, the assistant Crown attorney said.
The couple had concerns she was meeting Thrones, who wasn't to have contact with her, and told police his relationship with the girl didn't seem normal to them.
Thrones picked up the girl at the Station Mall and they drove to Timmins, where police located them the following day.
The girl told officers she considered Thrones a father figure and that she didn't want to go back to the Sault.
"She couldn't comprehend what he had done wrong," Johnson said.
In an interview with police, Thrones said the girl begged him to take her back to Timmins and was threatening to run away to the United States.
On Thursday, he testified that he was worried and the thought of this "pretty gutsy" girl hitchhiking was driving him crazy.
"I feel stupid for what I did. I wasn't thinking with my brain. I was thinking with my heart," he told his lawyer Ross Romano.
"I'm very sorry, very regretful."
During cross-examination by Johnson, he disagreed that his relationship with the girl was very unusual.
"I think it's a very loving, trusting bond and I consider her to be like my daughter," Thrones said. "I do what I do because of how much I love this child and care for her."
Romano argued that his remorseful client, who has been in custody since his arrest, has served sufficient time when credited two-for-one.
"There's no sexual impropriety here," the defence said.
"This goes to his fatherly affection towards this daughter he feels her to be."
Romano suggested that if the judge thought more custody was warranted that he impose a conditional sentence to be served in the community or a 60-to-90- day intermittent sentence to be served on weekends.
He proposed these sentences so that Thrones, who suffers from numerous medical problems, can continue treatment for them.
Noting the victim was a vulnerable child, Johnson asked the court to consider nine-to-12 months, less the "dead time" the accused has had in pre-sentence custody.
He cited the need for denunciation and deterrence.
The community has to be assured of the protection of children, the assistant Crown attorney said.
The Crown and defence agreed that Thrones should also be placed on probation for the maximum three-year period.
Source: Sault Star