The 68-year-old Chilliwack man who repeatedly sexually assaulted two underage brothers in Agassiz in the 1980s does not fully take responsibility for his actions.
That’s according to excerpts from a pre-sentence report for Don Putt read in provincial court by Crown counsel Grant Lindsey on Friday.
That, and the fact that Putt doesn’t even admit his own sexual proclivities are reasons why Lindsey argued to Judge Wendy Young that he is a risk to reoffend.
In the report, Putt is quoted as saying that he is “not attracted to, nor does he fantasize, about underage males.”
“This is utterly false,” Lindsey said, pointing to the 2016 conviction for child luring, which he pleaded guilty to.
The sentencing hearing for Putt wrapped up Sept. 22 and was attended by two of his daughters and the parents of his victims.
Crown asked the court for a four-year sentence. Putt’s lawyer Martin Finch has asked for two years less a day. More than two years means federal time, and Putt has previously expressed concern for his safety if sentenced to a federal institution.
Putt’s particular concern comes from the high-profile nature of his arrest on the 2016 charge coming as it did as the result of a bust by the controversial anti-pedophile vigilante group Creep Catchers.
Putt was caught on video on Oct. 7, 2016 when he showed up to the Vedder Crossing McDonald’s to meet who he thought was a 12-year-old boy only to be met by members of the controversial vigilante group who posted the encounter on YouTube.
He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six months. The subsequent publicity elicited two men to come forward leading to the charges from the 1980s in Agassiz. A former District of Kent alderman, the now 68-year-old Putt pleaded guilty April 18 to two counts of sexual assault from 1984 and 1986.
The victims’ names cannot be used because of a publication ban.
Over months and years when he was in his 30s, Putt repeatedly engaged in all manner of sexual activity with J.W. and before that his brother D.W. The boys’ family were neighbours of Putt. They did babysitting for him and worked in his raspberry and corn fields in the 1980s.
During the sentencing hearing Friday, Lindsey pointed to yet other troublesome statements in the pre-sentence report prepared for the court. Among them, Putt said that he committed the offences in the 1980s when he was in his 30s and now he is more mature and has a different mindset.
“Not true,” Lindsey said, again pointing to his luring charge from last year, and specifically evidence in that case that Putt repeatedly asked who he thought was a 12-year-old boy for naked photos.
Putt stated by way of admittance that some of the messages exchanged in that case were “inappropriate,” something Lindsey called a “horrible understatement.” Lindsey said the PSR pointed to numerous examples of “cognitive distortion” from Putt.
Putt’s lawyer Finch, however, called the PSR “curious” suggesting the probation officer responsible may have come to conclusions beyond his or her area of expertise.
Finch said a sentence of two years less a day is suitable, preferably to be served at Ford Mountain Correctional Centre, a provincial facility in the Chilliwack River Valley.
Young expressed concern with a provincial sentence followed by probation because the PSR writer said that Putt, who is a citizen of Canada, Australia and New Zealand, planned to go to Australia after any sentenced served.
“Probation is not workable,” Young said.
Finch said that was a mistake in the PSR, and that he only wanted to go to Australia to close bank accounts and wrap up his affairs, before coming back to B.C. hopefully to reconcile with any family members that will take him.
“His general infamy is now notorious,” Finch said, pointing to the media coverage of his charges.
All the parties agreed that as of Sept. 22, Putt would be given 1.5 credit for 189 days of time served in custody. That amounts to about 9.5 months taken off any sentence.
Young said she would pass sentence on Oct. 19.
That sentencing is not the last of Putt’s challenges with the justice system. He also faces a charge of gross indecency and one count of “indecent assault of a male on a male” (no longer in the criminal code) from the early 1970s in Abbotsford. To those charges he pleaded not guilty, but on May 23 he was found guilty by a judge in Abbotsford provincial court.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on that file on Oct. 6 in Abbotsford.