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Victim feared child-porn collage would be seen
A teenager victimized by a South Surrey man RCMP describe as “a prolific distributor of child sex-abuse images and video online” says she has lived in fear every day since the man she called “Uncle Doug” was arrested.
In a victim-impact statement read aloud during a two-day sentencing hearing in Surrey Provincial Court, the young B.C. woman – who was 16 at the time of Douglas Wayne Bowers’ arrest and cannot be identified – detailed intense emotional and psychological impact that resulted from learning Bowers had created a collage using her image superimposed on photographs of other women’s bodies alongside male genitalia.
“I was scared daily in high school of people finding the photos of me,” she wrote on Dec. 7, 2011. “I live carrying the fear of the images reappearing.”
Bowers pleaded guilty in 2010 to possessing child pornography. He told police he had connected with the young woman – who prosecutor Keith Kinash noted is not Bowers’ niece – on Facebook.
The collage was one of the items discovered on June 24, 2009 after an investigation by the RCMP’s Integrated Child Exploitation Team led police to Bowers’ home in the 16200-block of 40 Avenue, where he was arrested.
Along with hundreds of videos and images discovered on two laptops and a memory card, at least 10 printed stories detailing sexual abuse of children were discovered on the floor by his nightstand.
In previous interviews with Peace Arch News, Bowers maintained he had accidentally downloaded child images while attempting to access adult pornography. He also denied any intention of viewing the videos and images, or making any Google searches for that material.
However, Sgt. Doug Collins, an eight-year veteran of the Integrated Technological Crime Unit, contradicted those claims Friday.
According to Collins, forensics indicated that a number of the videos and images had been viewed more than once, and that online searches were made using keywords for child pornography coinciding with images and videos found on Bowers’ computer.
Collins noted the downloads began Sept. 20, 2008 and continued up until the day before Bowers was arrested.
Bowers told police that while there were sexual images of children as young as 10 on his computer, there were also images of “older women,” the court heard.
In the same interview, he said he would search for “15-, 16-, 17-, 18-, 19-year-olds” and that 50 per cent of the images and videos show individuals under 18 years old, Kinash said.
Asked by officers why he would read sexual-abuse stories involving children, Bower responded: “’Cause your imagination is better than the real thing.”
Bowers said he “overlooked” that the fictional character was only 10 years old.
Asked if the male image in the collage was Bowers, he responded that he could not recall, the court was told.
The case against Bowers has faced several delays over the years, for reasons including changes in his lawyers and cited health issues, as well as Bowers’ application to change his plea to not guilty in March 2012 – a request he withdrew five weeks later.
Crown is requesting a sentence of one year in prison, followed by two years probation and no contact with the family of his B.C. victim.
In his reasoning for a year-long incarceration, Kinash noted a number of red flags regarding Bowers, including a criminal record that includes three counts of breach of probation, as well as a perceived manipulative attitude of the justice system.
“It’s difficult to lead to water, but it’s more difficult to get him to drink,” he said.
Reached Monday, Bowers’ attorney, Gail Barnes, would not comment on sentencing submissions.
“I don’t really like to talk about my cases in the media,” she said.
Judge Michael Hicks is expected to make his decision on Sept. 16.