Addictions counselor convicted of sexually assaulting Calgary teen

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A brief encounter between a Calgary addictions counselor and a city teenager in a Lethbridge hotel room constituted sexual assault, a judge ruled Friday.

Judge Heather Lamoureux convicted Jessica Ossais of sexual assault and sexual exploitation of a minor for a March 22, 2019, incident between her and a 17-year-old drug addict.

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Lamoureux considered that the encounter described by the complainant, in which she said she sat on Ossais on a bed in the hotel room the offender rented for them and touched the counselor’s breasts over her clothes, amounted to sexual assault. .

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Ossais had admitted he acted professionally inappropriately after going to the southern Alberta city to meet the complainant, who was AWOL from a secure addiction facility in Calgary.

But she denied her accuser’s claim they made in the hotel room and told defense lawyer James Hawkins that the only contact between them was when they woke up and found the girl “molesting” her, an activity she immediately put a stop to.

Lamoureux accepted the complainant’s testimony that their encounter occurred with Ossais’ full consent, an activity she only realized was sexual abuse after she got clean of drugs.

The Calgary Justice Court judge ruled that Ossais had contact with the teen in the Lethbridge hotel room, but rejected allegations that the “connections” the witness described continued after she returned to the juvenile addictions program. .

He said Ossais was his counselor in the Child Abuse Drug Protection program at the time.

While the teen was away from the provincial program, she contacted Ossais in Lethbridge and the caseworker went to pick her up there.

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Ossais admitted to getting them a hotel room and said she was concerned for the girl’s well-being.

“The complainant was a client/patient receiving treatment for serious drug addiction,” Lamoureux said, finding Ossais guilty of criminal conduct for violating his position of trust toward the teenager.

“At the time of these events, the complainant was suffering from drug-induced psychosis and at times was suicidal,” the judge said of the girl’s vulnerability.

Lamoureux noted that there was an “imbalance of power between the accused and the complainant.”

It found that Crown prosecutor Tiffany Dwyer had shown that sexual misconduct occurred in the hotel room, but not at any later point in the relationship between the two.

“The contact between the complainant and the accused involved the activities of the complainant touching the accused’s breasts and the complainant sitting on top of the accused on the bed in the hotel room.”

The date for Ossais’ sentencing hearing will be set next Friday.

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