Summerside man pleads guilty to pursuing sexual relationship with teen

Colin MacLean
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Lawyer says 'merry-go-round' of jail time is costing taxpayer and not helping Tony Laviolette

A Summerside man was in court for sending friend requests and messaging an underage girl on Facebook. This was his third round of being sentenced for breaching the terms of his probation for contacting this young woman.

SUMMERSIDE — A Summerside man on probation for crimes of a sexual nature is heading back to jail.

Tony Joseph Laviolette, 25, recently pleaded guilty to three counts of breaching a court order and one count of uttering threats. Two of the breaches were for having contact with a child and one was for attending a place frequented by children, a school in this case.

Provincial court Judge Jeff Lantz sentenced Laviolette on Wednesday to 12 months, plus one day, in jail and three years of probation.

According to the facts presented in court, this is Laviolette’s third round of court breaches stemming back to a sentence of federal prison time in 2007 for sexual assault and arson, among other crimes.

Nearly all of the breaches revolve around his desire to keep contacting the same underage girl.

The most recent problems started on Feb. 19, 2014, when he sent the girl a Facebook friend request.

The two had several Facebook chat conversations, during some of which Laviolette suggested the two be “friends with benefits.”

The girl expressed a desire to be friends, but said empathetically that she wasn’t interested in a sexual relationship, and reminded him he could get in trouble for suggesting such a thing.

But Laviolette persisted, even challenging the girl’s boyfriend, also a teenager, to a fight on at least one occasion.

He also purchased the girl and her friend cigarettes and alcohol, and delivered it to them, at night, on a Summerside school’s property.

In its summations, the Crown suggested that Laviolette has basically followed the same pattern every time he has been released. Contacting the girl, then getting caught.

They said that her protection must be paramount at this point.

Their original suggestion had been 18 months in jail.

But Trish Cheverie, Laviolette‘s legal aide counsel, dismissed that suggestion.

She argued that even though her client has been examined and profiled by numerous health-care professionals over the years in relation to his sexual preference for young girls, he has never really completed any of the treatment options available to him. She said this is because of a combination of him not being out of jail long enough to complete any programs and then not being in jail long enough for the same. His diminished mental capacity has also been a factor in disqualifying him from treatment.

 “The longer he’s in jail, it’s not going to deter him,” said Cheverie.

“What’s going to keep him from repeating is intensive supervision and intensive treatment.

“This merry-go-round of jail, get out, jail, get out, jail, is costing the taxpayers an exorbitant amount of money and it’s having no positive consequence at all,” she said.

In his decision, Lantz agreed that Laviolette needed more treatment, but said he had to balance that with what services were realistically available to him and with protection of the victim.

Organizations: Summerside school

Geographic location: Summerside

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