A man whom a B.C. provincial court judge said inflicted “horror and pain” on the lives of two families when he forced two young children attending his wife’s daycare to perform sexual acts has been given a four-year prison term.
Latif Tata, 39, pleaded guilty earlier this year to two counts of sexual assault on the children, who were between the ages of two and four years old when they attended Shining Stars Family Childcare in Maple Ridge, B.C., between 2010 and 2012.
At Mr. Tata’s sentencing on Thursday, Port Coquitlam provincial court Judge David Stone told the court Mr. Tata’s crimes will forever affect the lives of the families whose daughters he admitted to assaulting.
“These (victim impact statements) eloquently expressed the horror and pain experienced by all four parents as a result of these crimes,” he said.
“The parents had put their trust into Mr. Tata and his wife, and that trust was betrayed. The parents feel anguished over the pain of their children, and anticipate with dread the difficulties their daughters’ experiences have ensured.”
Mr. Tata, who was born in Afghanistan and moved to Canada from Pakistan with his family in 1994, was originally charged with a dozen counts connected to the assaults of four children who attended the daycare. The charges related to two of the children were stayed, said Crown prosecutor Wendy Wakabayashi.
Mr. Tata was arrested last December at his home, where he lived with his parents, his wife and children, and his two brothers. His wife operated the daycare in the basement.
Several days after Mr. Tata’s arrest, another girl told her mother while screaming and crying that she was molested by Mr. Tata, said Judge Stone.
When questioned by the RCMP, Mr. Tata admitted to assaulting the two girls on “a couple of occasions” during the fall of 2012, but he denied intercourse ever took place.
According to a pre-sentence report done last month, Mr. Tata appeared not to take responsibility for his behaviour, explaining that he was normal and would not benefit from any rehabilitation such as a sexual offender treatment program.
“Given his position on his behaviour, his demonstration of lack of insight and understanding, it is likely Mr. Tata will require intensive, long-term intervention in a controlled setting in order to mitigate the possible risks of any future conduct,” said Judge Stone, as he quoted from the report.
A forensic psychiatric assessment also made a similar conclusion, although Mr. Tata’s lawyer, John Cheevers, previously told the court there was a “cultural issue” when the author of the pre-sentence report spoke to his client. Mr. Tata simply misunderstood what was being suggested to him, and is in fact willing to participate in intervention programs, Mr. Cheevers said.
Judge Stone said on Thursday that Mr. Tata’s guilty plea spared his victims and their families from going through a lengthy and difficult trial. The judge also pointed out that Mr. Tata has already faced the stigma of being a child molester, and his family has been forced to relocate.
His wife had to close down the daycare, he added.
However, Judge Stone said the ages of Mr. Tata’s two victims, and the fact that he abused them while in a position of trust, cannot be ignored.
“Parents are entitled to leave their children at a daycare with the comfort that they’d be well-cared for physically, emotionally, and not abused,” he said. “The impact of sexual assault of this nature on a child’s life cannot be overstated.”
As Judge Stone handed down the four-year sentence, Mr. Tata sat in the prisoner’s box, dressed in red and with his head down at times. His family, including his wife and parents, looked on from the courtroom gallery.
Mr. Tata was credited for 218 days spent in custody. He will serve his sentence in a federal institution, where he is to receive treatment. He also faces a lifetime weapons ban, and has been prohibited from attending public places where children under the age of 16 are present.
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