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P.E.I. man given two years in prison for sex offences against young victims

Leo Dowling, right, heads into court Thursday where he was sentenced to two years in a federal correctional facility after being found guilty in May of 15 sex offences against seven victims under the age of 16.
Leo Dowling, right, heads into court Thursday where he was sentenced to two years in a federal correctional facility after being found guilty in May of 15 sex offences against seven victims under the age of 16. - Jim Day
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

A 63-year-old P.E.I. man convicted of committing sex offences against seven victims between the ages of five and 15 was sentenced to two years in a federal prison.

Leo Arnold Dowling will also be on probation for two years following his release from jail. During this time, he must refrain from having any contact, direct or indirect, with any of the victims.

Supreme Court Justice Nancy Key also ordered Dowling to refrain from having any contact with females under the age of 16 unless he is supervised by an adult approved by Dowling’s probation officer.

Dowling will also have his DNA added to the national sex offender registry.

Key followed the joint recommendation of the Crown and defence by sentencing Dowling to two years of incarceration followed by probation.

The judge acknowledged no sentence could erase the horrific offences committed against the victims – crimes that included sexual assault, sexual interference, indecent assault and invitation to sexual touching.

Key found Dowling guilty on all but two counts of the 19 charges he faced in a five-day trial in October.

During the trial, Key ruled in favour of a Crown request to consider similar evidence from each of the victims on all of the counts Dowling was facing.

In rendering her decision in late January, Key reviewed the victims’ evidence, which included allegations Dowling touched the victims on their breasts and vaginal area over and under their clothing.

The court also heard evidence during the trial that several witnesses were aware of someone sending Dowling’s wife an anonymous letter around the time of the offences that said her husband liked to touch little girls.

Key referred to Dowling’s testimony about the letter, during which he said he thought it was just a prank, so he didn’t do anything about it.

Dowling took the stand in his own defence during the trial and denied all of the allegations against him.

During sentencing Thursday, Key noted that Dowling admitted after the trial that he still did not know what the charges were about.

“Mr. Dowling is not taking responsibility,’’ she said.

A publication ban prevents the release of any details that could identify the victims.

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