Man guilty of sexually assaulting 9-year-old girl
The little girl, flanked by her parents and a family friend, smiled when the judge read the guilty verdict Tuesday afternoon.
Kyle Berkson, the man accused of sneaking into her bedroom when she was nine years old and sexually assaulting her, was found guilty of breaking and entering with intent to commit sexual assault with a weapon, invitation to sexual touching, sexual interference and uttering threats.
Outside Surrey Provincial Court, the now-10-year-old girl, who cannot be identified under court order, said she was "glad" Berkson had been convicted.
Her grandmother, who has been caring for the girl since she was a baby and whom she calls Mom, said she hoped no other family would have to go through anything similar.
"A child should have the right to sleep in their own home," she said, lauding her daughter for being brave and taking the stand.
The girl testified during the trial that she woke up in the middle of the night last April 23 to a man sitting on top of her. She said he sexually assaulted her, tried to get her to perform oral sex, licked her cheek and threatened her before leaving. The girl said she was scared and that the man sounded and looked like Berkson, a friend of the family's.
A pill bottle with Berkson's name was found in the child's room after the incident, as was a flashlight and pair of scissors which her parents said were not theirs. The shorts the girl wore to bed had been cut in the crotch area.
As well, Berkson's DNA was found on the girl's cheek – consistent with her testimony that he licked her. Judge James Donald Bahen said the chance the DNA was not the accused's was one in 1.4 trillion.
During the trial, prosecutor Lynett Jung said Berkson had been in the home many times and was familiar with the unique and complicated layout, and another witness testified the accused had bragged about his ability to crack any lock (his father is a locksmith).
Defense lawyer David Gable had argued the case against Berkson was purely circumstantial, and said there were many missing pieces to what he called a "jigsaw puzzle" of evidence. He suggested that perhaps the girl had made the story up.
Judge Bahen disagreed.
"This incident was not a bad dream or a deliberate fabrication," he said, noting the child wouldn't sleep in her own room after the incident and wanted to get a new bed.
He credited the girl with her clear, carefully worded and intelligent testimony, saying she never appeared flippant and took the court process seriously.
Berkson will be sentenced at a later date.