Luke Strimbold | Photo by Dan Mesec
In a Smithers courtroom today (Tuesday), the Crown and defense gave its recommendations on a sentence for former Burns Lake Mayor Luke Strimbold.
The Crown is recommending a sentence of four-to-six years in a penitentiary because Strimbold pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual assault in May.
Three out of the four counts had multiple incidents, but the defense is suggesting an 18-month sentence with probation and community service to follow.
According to Crown Attorney Jeff Campbell, the victims were between the ages of 14 and 16.
Strimbold met the victims through family members and most of the offenses occurred when Strimbold had responsibilities for the victims.
The court heard he supplied the victims with alcohol and were severely intoxicated.
In some offenses, the victims were either passed out or falling asleep.
Three out of the four victims submitted impact statements that were read by Campbell.
The Crown also said there were statements from the victim’s immediate family members.
Victims and their families experienced anger, depression and even dropped out of after school programs and school.
Defense Attorney Stanley Tressmer told the court Strimbold was sexually abused as a child and failed to recognize his wrongdoing.
Tressmer also said Strimbold had a drinking and drug problem because of being bullied while growing up and being a closeted gay man.
The court also heard during the offenses Strimbold was in a dark place.
Strimbold has been attending treatment according to Tressmer.
Strimbold addressed the court in a tearful apology to his victims, victim’s families and the community of Burns Lake.
“I recognize my age difference as friends and I’m really and deeply sorry to each of them and will forever be regretful,” he said.
“To the families and the community that I cared so deeply about, I’m sorry I let you down and to the victims and the individuals I want you to know that this was all my doing and they should bear no shame for my actions,”
Strimbold also told the court he assures he will not offend again and will continue to seek counseling and treatment.
“I know how important that is for my health and my wellbeing to continue to set appropriate boundaries in my life,” he said.
Strimbold was elected Mayor of Burns Lake in 2011 at the age of 21, which made him the youngest BC mayor ever.
Madame Justice Brown is expected to deliver her sentence on December 4.
—With files from Lindsay Newman, MyBulkleyLakesNow.com and Hartley Miller, MyPrinceGeorgeNow.com