A convicted sex offender who exposed himself at a public park says he forgives his 13-year-old victim.
David Ernest Friesen, 66, was arrested Oct. 14, 2018, and later found guilty at trial of committing an indecent act in public, exposing himself to a person under the age of 16 for a sexual purpose and two counts of breaching probation.
Friesen was bound by the terms of a prior probation order from entering any park, including the one on Edmonton Avenue where he exposed himself to the 13-year-old and his seven-year-old sister.
Friesen has remained in custody at the Okanagan Correctional Centre since.
During his sentencing hearing Thursday, Crown counsel Nashina Devji said Friesen’s history of treatment for bipolar disorder hasn’t helped him avoid reoffending since his criminal record began in 2009.
“Whatever the cause, or whatever is going on, he doesn’t have a handle on it,” she said, explaining Friesen is in denial he did anything wrong other than enter the park when he knew he shouldn’t.
“He doesn’t even acknowledge that he exposed himself to the children, and in fact he places blame squarely on the shoulders of the children,” she said.
“Without Mr. Friesen even acknowledging he has committed these offences, rehabilitation can’t even be a consideration.”
Devji suggested a one-year jail sentence followed by a three-year probation order and a lifetime ban preventing Friesen from attending parks, pools or any other public area where children could be present.
Defence counsel James Pennington urged the judge to sentence Friesen to time served.
“He has been in custody for basically the equivalent of 12 months,” said Pennington. “That’s enough time. He’s already under the care of a family doctor and a psychiatrist. What more can we ask for?”
When given an opportunity to speak, Friesen said he has forgiven his 13-year-old victim.
“I forgive him in that twice he lied in court, but I’ll forgive him for that because he was under duress,” he said.
“God has a good plan for the remainder of my life,” Friesen continued. “And I will get a puppy to cherish and love in place of a child.”
He also said he had plans to reside on a friend’s property in Kaleden once out of jail, but the plan isn’t set in stone yet.
Judge Greg Koturbash adjourned sentencing to allow for production of records from Friesen’s 2009 conviction for assaulting a 14-year-old boy.
“From a person not involved in psychiatric treatment, it looks to me like he definitely belongs in a hospital,” said Koturbash, adding he believes Friesen’s release plan needed to be tighter to ensure the public’s safety.
Friesen has already served prison time for a similar crime, having been sentenced in 2016 to 45 days in jail after flashing a mother and her three children at the Penticton library. It was while on probation for that offence that Friesen committed his most recent indecent act.