Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit November 09, 2012 - 12:14 pm

Iqaluit man gets 18-month jail sentence for sexual assaults on minors

“I do not believe it is necessary to send [Rennie] to a federal penitentiary to ensure a safer Nunavut”

DAVID MURPHY
Cody Rennie, 22, leaves the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit Nov. 8. Rennie pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault, all of which involve children under the age of 14, at the Nunavut Court of Justice Nov. 8. (PHOTO BY DAVID MURPHY)
Cody Rennie, 22, leaves the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit Nov. 8. Rennie pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault, all of which involve children under the age of 14, at the Nunavut Court of Justice Nov. 8. (PHOTO BY DAVID MURPHY)

An Iqaluit man received an 18-month jail sentence Nov. 8 for sexually assaulting three boys under the age of 14 in his taxi cab in 2009.

Cody Rennie, 22, appeared at the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit Nov. 8 to plead guilty to three counts of sexual assault.

At a sentencing hearing before Justice Neil Sharkey, Crown prosecutor Doug Garson asked for a two-and-a-half year prison sentence, which would have to be served in a federal penitentiary.

Garson said that Rennie did serious, long-term psychological harm to the boys who were sexually assaulted in his taxi.

Boys would often approach Rennie, 19 at the time, asking for rides around the community in his taxi, and for cigarettes, according to information presented in court Nov. 8.

Rennie drove the kids around Iqaluit— the end of Road to Nowhere, Upper Base, and behind the Arctic Winter Games arena — where he fondled their penises.

On one occasion, Rennie drove all three boys behind the Arctic Winter Games arena. He let two of them out to play, and kept one inside the taxi.

There, Rennie tried to anally penetrate the boy, but could not achieve a full erection. He then masturbated in front of the boy.

Two of the children were aged 10 at the time of that offence, and one of them was eight.

After committing his sexual assaults, Rennie would feel bad about exploiting the young boys, and gave the boys $40 to $50.

But one of the boys is said to be suffering significant psychological damage since the incident, Garson said.

In February 2012, Rennie faced 15 sex charges involving children and youth when he first appeared in court.

He was held in custody for 23 days after that court appearance, but he has been out on bail ever since, under a form of house arrest.

Defence lawyer Scott Wheildon argued in his submissions that Rennie had been a victim of sexual abuse as a boy, and that an 18-month territorial imprisonment would be appropriate.

Wheildon said this is the first time that Rennie, who is now a father, had been charged with such a crime.

Rennie does have a previous criminal record for an offence for which he received a conditional charge.

Wheildon also said Rennie should get credit for pleading guilty and sparing the boys from having to testify in court.

After Rennie pleaded guilty, he took the opportunity to voice his remorse.

“I’m sorry that everyone has to sit in this room today. I’m sorry to the families,” Rennie said. “I want to move on. Whatever [the judge] determines, it is appropriate with me.”

Ultimately Sharkey decided to spare Rennie a federal prison term, saying his crimes were “opportunistic.”

“I believe, in this case, his remorse is real,” Sharkey said.

“I do not believe it is necessary to send [Rennie] to a federal penitentiary to ensure a safer Nunavut,” Sharkey said, adding there’s a good prospect that Rennie will be rehabilitated. 

On top of the 18-month jail term, Sharkey imposed a three-year probation term for when Rennie gets out of prison.

Rennie is required to take counselling for his sexual behavior, have no contact with the three young boys, and serve 100 hours of community service.

Rennie, dressed in a baggy jacket and baggy jeans and sporting a goatee, hugged and kissed his wife before being escorted outside the courtroom by an RCMP officer.

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