Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut April 16, 2014 - 5:09 pm

Nunavut court: Clyde River men get jail time for sex offences on minors

Young girl kicked one man to ward off his advances

DAVID MURPHY

Two Clyde River men will get short stints in jail for sex crimes against a minor following proceedings April 16 at the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit.

Steven Aipeelee, 44, director of finance at the hamlet of Clyde River, was handed the longest sentence of the two — 30 days imprisonment for one count of sexual assault.

Aipeelee originally faced multiple charges of sexual assault, but pleaded guilty to one, and the Crown dropped the other charges. 

The crime involved the same complainant involved in the Benjamin Hainnu case — his charges were stayed after the complainant did not show up to testify in court April 15.

The assaults were alleged to have occurred between December 2009 and January 2010.

Members of the Clyde River RCMP detachment began investigating after members received a letter from Pond Inlet social services about a sexual assault involving an underage girl, Crown prosecutor Doug Garson said. 

Garson said the complainant went to Aipeelee’s boss’s house with three others to buy marijuana.

At the house, Aipeelee tried to kiss and touch the girl, and tried to take her pants off, but she kicked him.

Garson said Aipeelee touched the girl’s buttocks and vagina over her clothes.

About a week after that, the complainant went to Aipeelee’s house because her friend was looking for vodka.

There, Aipeelee tried to take her pants off, but was not able to. He did, however, touch her backside over her pants.

Defence lawyer Laura Stevens said Aipeelee had been intoxicated each time, and that he has a “serious alcohol addiction.”

She said Aipeelee also spent two years in a residential school in Grades 9 and 10, and that he is a complainant in a court case against a teacher related to that time.

Stevens mentioned that Aipeelee told her that he didn’t want the matter to go to trial because, “I don’t want to hurt them again.”

Crown and defence lawyers made a joint submission for prison term of 30 days, and Justice Sue Cooper agreed.

“I would just like to apologize for what I did, it was wrong,” Aipeelee told the court.

Aipeelee hugged his wife and kissed her cheek before a sheriff escorted him out of the courtroom.

Billy Kuniliusee, 41, pleaded guilty to one count of invitation to sexual touching involving the same girl.

Kuniliusee attempted to kiss the complainant when the girl tried to buy marijuana from him.

Kuniliusee received a 14-day prison sentence for that.

“I would like to apologize for what I did. I shall not do this again,” Kuniliusee said in court.

Aipeelee and Kuniliusee each received one-year probation orders starting after their prison terms.

Under the order, both men must avoid all contact with the complainant.

Cooper wished the two men good luck and said, “I hope I don’t see you again.”

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