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Former St. Albert man guilty of sexual interference against child

Mother of victim embraced friend in tears after a jury found her former neighbour guilty of sexual interference against her child.

An 11-person jury has found former St. Albert resident Donald Dupuis guilty of sexual interference against a St. Albert child, who was between six to eight years old when the incidents took place. 

The complainant’s mother and a friend embraced in tears as the jury read the verdict.

The jury was sequestered at around 2:30 p.m. on Thursday and reached a verdict by 1 p.m. Friday.

During the trial, the complainant, who is now a teen, told the court Dupuis — a neighbour and worker at the townhouse complex where the family lived — pushed her into her bedroom closet, put his hands down her pants and fondled her.

She testified Dupuis did this several times when he lived near the family, and either one or both of her parents were in the home during each event. Later the abuse included kissing her. The abuse took place over several years and started in 2015. 

The complainant said she did not tell her family about the abuse until summer 2022. She opened up to a friend about the experience, and the friend encouraged her to go to the police, she said.

On Friday morning, the jury returned to court with questions about the whereabouts of the complainant’s parents during the multiple incidents of sexual abuse Dupuis committed against the child.

At that time, the jury was deadlocked and couldn’t reach a verdict.

Shortly after receiving additional information, the jury found Dupuis guilty.

Dupuis requested to attend court on Friday by phone due health complications. He was taken to hospital by ambulance from the Edmonton Law Courts Thursday night. Justice Janice Ashcroft denied his request.

Crown prosecutor Ben Wiebe argued that Dupuis should not be allowed to go free until sentencing because of Dupuis’s many past convictions.

Dupuis was convicted of sexual interference in 2012 and again in 2019, both times against children.

Defence lawyer Derek James Anderson argued that Dupuis has been compliant with court orders since his 2022 arrest. He also argued that Dupuis cares for a partner with cognitive and physical disabilities and mental illness.

Ashcroft sided with the Crown.

"I find his detention is necessary for the safety of the public," she said. And she agreed it would undermine the public's confidence in the the administration of justice.

Dupuis will stay at Alberta Hospital until sentencing.

Court will reconvene on Jan. 19 to decide on a date for sentencing. Sentencing is expected to happen in late spring or early summer.

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