Gang rape sentences Calgary man to five years in prison

Two men were originally convicted by a non-jury judge in June 2021, but the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled a new trial was warranted.

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Joshua Cervantes, of Calgar, is back in jail for the second time in connection with his involvement in the gang rape of a teenage runaway.

But Cervantes’ last time behind bars may be short-lived, as his attorney has appealed his conviction and will seek his release pending that hearing.

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Defense lawyer Jillian Williamson said she filed an appeal of Cervantes’ conviction in January by a Calgary King’s Bench Court jury in connection with a Feb. 6, 2020, incident at her parents’ southeast home.

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The lawyer’s comments came after Judge Joanna Price handed Cervantes the same five-year sentence she gave his co-defendant, Chngkouth John Makuag, in March for his role in the gang attack on his 15-year-old victim. .

Crown prosecutor Donna Spaner had sought a six-year sentence for Cervantes, arguing there were aggravating factors that set him apart from his co-accused, but the judge said those had not been established beyond a reasonable doubt.

Williamson had proposed a sentence of between four and five years.

Price found there were significant aggravating features of the offense to raise the sentence above the three-year starting point for major sexual assaults.

“Mr. Cervantes knew that (the victim) was a young and vulnerable high school student,” Price said.

“He took advantage of her naivety and vulnerable state to illegally sexually touch her.”

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The judge noted that the assaults included sexual touching and sexual intercourse with the victim, whom the two men and a young man had previously met at the Chinook Center.

“Mr. Cervantes engaged in forced sexual relations that were a group activity and gang in nature,” Price said.

The girl had run away from home and was looking for a place to spend the night and was taken to the residence of Cervantes’ parents.

The two men were originally convicted by a bench judge in June 2021, but the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled last year that a new trial was warranted.

After the first trial, Makuag, who was 20 years old at the time of the assault, was sentenced to five years, while Cervantes, who was 19 years old during the crime, was sentenced to five and a half years.

But Price noted that Cervantes has been free for much of the time since he was charged and now has a girlfriend, a two-year-old daughter and a steady job.

Makuag, who remains in custody, has also filed an appeal against his second conviction.

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