Brent Atatise – Repeat Sex Offender – Proves need for Registry

A Winnipeg woman says she was horrified to learn her new boyfriend was actually a high-risk convicted pedophile who allegedly abused her eight-year-old son during a family outing at the Red River Exhibition last summer.

“My heart broke. I felt like a really bad mother, like I wasn’t there for my son,” the woman said through tears while testifying in court Wednesday.

She thought she’d met the perfect match in the spring of 2008, believing Brent Atatise would be a good partner for her and good role model for her son and younger daughter. But the woman said their relationship began to deteriorate as Atatise hit the bottle.

“When he’s intoxicated he’s a completely different person,” she said.

Atatise, 30, has pleaded not guilty to sexually abusing the boy, who told court Tuesday he was molested on three occasions in one day. The alleged victim claims Atatise also threatened to kill his entire family if he told anyone what happened inside a teepee and washroom at the Ex, as well as a bathroom at Portage Place Shopping Centre.

The mother had no clue Atatise is a repeat sex offender with a record dating back to 1994, who had been the subject of an earlier police warning following his release from Stony Mountain in 2005.

Atatise was on probation at the time of the alleged attack, despite having been charged at least 10 times for breaching conditions of a court order after serving his entire three-year sentence for a sexual assault on a 15-year-old girl in 2002. The parole board said previously Atatise had refused sexual-offender treatment while an inmate and that it didn’t believe there were programs in the community that could help him control his “violent and sexual impulses.”

The mother met Atatise in March 2008 while they were taking a welding class together at the Aboriginal Centre. The woman said she invited Atatise to come along with her and the children to the carnival one day last June but soon regretted the decision when he began drinking heavily from the beer he’d packed inside a bag and brought with him. Atatise became increasingly drunk and belligerent and even threatened to kill her in front of the children, she said.

Defence lawyer Mark Wasyliw suggested the over-protective woman may have planted the sexual-abuse claim in her son’s head because Atatise had threatened and embarrassed her, ruining what should have been a fun “family day.”

The trial is being heard by a judge alone and is scheduled to last all week.

“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”

………Sarah Tofte

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