Convicted serial rapist Andrew Aurie Jefferson says being designated a longterm offender will not help him achieve his goal of becoming a contributing member of society.
In fact, nearly three years after finishing a prison sentence for the crimes he committed in Calgary as the Falconridge Rapist, he believes he is finally on the right path.
â€œIâ€™m not the same person I was two years ago being released from the penitentiary, or one year ago,â€ Jefferson said Wednesday at his sentencing hearing in provincial court in Surrey. â€œIâ€™m changing and maturing. This is an upward progression for me.â€
Jefferson, 29, pleaded guilty in January to one count of robbery in connection with a Langley carjacking.
The Crown is seeking four-and-a-half to five years in prison for Jefferson, along with long-term offender designation that would see Jefferson monitored in the community for 10 years following his release.
In November 2011, Jefferson was released from prison and from the outset, he said, things were difficult. Classified as an untreated sexual offender, he was rejected by two B.C. municipalities before settling in Surrey, where there was backlash from the community and a public warning was issued.
A two-year peace bond also took effect when Jefferson was released, placing a number of conditions on him. He said those conditions â€“ which included disclosing his criminal history to landlords and employers and reporting relationships with women to his probation officer â€“ made it difficult for him to find a place to live, hold a job and maintain a relationship.
â€œI felt as if I was gated when I was released from the penitentiary,â€ Jefferson said.
Jefferson breached his conditions twice and was accused, but found not guilty, of sexually assaulting a teenage girl. His probation officer said he resisted taking programs or counselling available to him while in the community and he began using drugs again.
When he committed the robbery in Langley in June 2013, he said, he was feeling ashamed and guilty, was using drugs and â€œhating on the probation.â€
â€œI kind of just wanted to come to jail. I was frustrated,â€ he said. It took about six months in pretrial custody, where he remains, before he began taking part in programs and workshops. â€œNow Iâ€™m doing my best to let go of my past behaviour because itâ€™s not getting me anywhere and itâ€™s just digging me a deeper trench,â€ he said.
He said he now understands why he was being monitored and told to do counselling and programs, and has a â€œ100 per centâ€ different attitude this time around.
Jefferson apologized to his victim, the community and the court for the robbery, pledging to continue avoiding drugs and pursuing positive changes and supports so that he can work, contribute to something and be proud of himself. If he is not designated a long-term offender and is instead, as his lawyer suggested to the judge, given a provincial jail term and a period of probation, Jefferson said he plans to go into a recovery program and take the time to work on himself and his reintegration into society.
– Jennifer Saltman is a reporter with the Vancouver Province.
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