A former Boy Scout leader and West Vancouver bus driver was sent to jail for nine months Friday for sexually touching an 11 year-old boy who was part of a group of teens he had befriended.
Donald Donnelly, 65, was led out of a North Vancouver provincial court room in handcuffs after being handed the sentence by Judge Joanne Challenger. Donnelly received the jail sentence after pleading guilty to sexual touching of a child under 16 and to possession of child pornography. Challenger said Donnelly - who has a previous conviction for a sexual offence against a teenaged boy - showed a "pattern of behaviour designed to build a relationship of trust with boys and parents," despite knowing he was attracted to boys.
A heavy-set grey-haired man, who has now retired to Kelowna, Donnelly showed little reaction to the sentence as he was led away.
Crown counsel Ron Edwards said the offences happened four years ago, when Donnelly befriended a group of boys - all between 11 and 14 at the time - who lived in a North Vancouver condo complex. Donnelly allowed the boys to play video games on his computers, sometimes picked them up from school and agreed to supervise the teens in the complex's swimming pool.
Edwards said the first time Donnelly sexually molested his victim, the boy was playing a computer game in Donnelly's apartment, while another friend played on a computer in another room. The second time, several boys were in the swimming area with Donnelly and most of them had gone into the hot tub when Donnelly grabbed the teen, pulled his shorts down and began to sexually assault him. The boy managed to break free, get out of the pool and ran to where his friends were, telling them what happened.
Police investigated, but none of the boys was willing to talk about it until several years later, when the one of them told a school counsellor. Reports of other disturbing behaviour then emerged. Boys described seeing Donnelly walking around with his fly undone and masturbating while they played video games. They also described seeing images of naked teens on Donnelly's computer. A search warrant later turned up almost 150 images of child pornography on the machine.
At the time Donnelly molested the teen, the judge noted he knew he was being investigated for the sexual assault on a teenaged boy on a camping trip in 1994. He was given a conditional sentence and put on probation for that incident.
A pre-sentence report noted Donnelly is attracted to teenaged boys and admits to having had sexual relationships with a 15 year-old and a 16 year-old when he was an adult. He was a Boy Scout leader in the early 1970s, although none of his convictions stem from that time.
In an emotional statement to the court, the mother of the victim told the judge that Donnelly's actions had turned her "happy, joyful son" into someone who was struggling with anger, having trouble at school and had quit activities he previously enjoyed, saying "he wasn't good enough."
In addition to the jail time, Donnelly was put on three years probation, will have his name on the sexual offender registry and has been ordered to stay away from children under 16.