Ryan Dechambre lowered his head and looked at the floor Monday as an Edmonton judge found him guilty on seven charges, including kidnapping and sexual assault.
His 52-year old victim was in the courtroom as Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Paul Belzil delivered the verdict.
The woman can only be identified by her initials, C.M., due to a court-ordered publication ban.
The judge ordered a psychiatric assessment and a pre-sentence report to be completed before Dechambre, 30, is sentenced on Nov. 15.
In July 2016, C.M. agreed to have sex with Dechambre for money. He took her to Rundle Park, where they had sex, but he refused to pay her. She began to cry and Dechambre put a jacket over her head and forced her to get into his car.
“She had no idea where she was going because her jacket covered her head,” said Belzil, who found Dechambre guilty of kidnapping.
For the next week, Dechambre kept C.M. inside his Edmonton house. He took away her clothing and her eyeglasses, rendering her virtually helpless.
“She had no idea where she was,” the judge said. “Most of the time, she was naked, and for the first three days spent most of her time in a closet. It was so small she was not able to recline to sleep.”
After three days, Dechambre moved C.M. to a larger closet, where she created a makeshift bed out of blankets.
Belzil convicted Dechambre of unlawful confinement, and of sexual assault, for forcing himself on his victim 10 times during her captivity.
During that week, Dechambre ran the dull edge of a knife over C.M.’s neck, cut her arm with a steak knife and whipped her with an electrical cord. For those incidents, he was convicted of uttering threats to cause bodily harm, assault with a weapon and possession of a weapon for a purpose dangerous to public peace.
On the seventh day, Dechambre drove C.M. to a bank in St. Albert and forced her to drain her bank account and hand over the money. He told C.M. she had to turn over all future earnings as a sex trade worker to him. For that he was found guilty of extortion.
‘I found her to be a credible witness’
Justice Belzil said he believed the victim’s testimony.
“I found her to be a credible witness,” he said. “She answered in a direct and forthright manner and did not exaggerate her evidence.”
The judge said he thought she did the right thing.
“In my view, under all the circumstances, it was prudent the complainant not try to escape,” Belzil said. “She feared for her life. She had been physically abused and threatened by the accused already. She did not know where she was, and no one else knew where she was. She did call for help as soon as it was safe to do so.”
Outside court, Crown prosecutor Carole Godfrey said she will seek a prison term that is “not insignificant.”
C.M. left the courtroom without comment, with a support worker from the Centre to End all Sexual Exploitation by her side.
Kate Quinn, executive director of CEASE, said her organization was only made aware of the case when contacted by the Crown. Edmonton police never publicized the charges when they were laid in July 2016.
“I’m glad that we know now,” Quinn said. “Hopefully this sends a strong message that you cannot kidnap, confine, extort, sexually assault other people without being held accountable.
“He perpetrated incredible horror on this woman. She has come through this with a lot of strength. She’s determined to heal from what she suffered.”
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