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Music teacher who sexually abused four-year-old piano student sent to prison

Calgary Herald logo Calgary Herald 2020-09-04 Kevin Martin
a building with a store on the sidewalk: Exterior pics of the Calgary Courts Centre in Calgary on Monday, August 10, 2020. © Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia Exterior pics of the Calgary Courts Centre in Calgary on Monday, August 10, 2020.

A Calgary music teacher who showed pornography to a four-year-old piano student in an attempt to have her touch him sexually has been handed a 4 1/2-year prison term.

In handing Darrin Hogue a federal penitentiary sentence, Justice David Labrenz said Thursday that courts are handing out increasingly tougher sentences to child sex abusers.

The Calgary Court of Queen’s Bench judge agreed with Crown prosecutor Aurelie Beland there were a number of aggravating factors warranting a severe sentence.

Beland had sought a total sentence for Hogue of five years on charges of inviting a minor to sexually touch him, and making and accessing child pornography.

Defence lawyer Jeinis Patel had suggested a punishment in the two- to three-year range.

Among the aggravating factors was the presumed psychological harm Hogue caused his young victim and the girl’s parents.

The former teacher at Harmony Music School was giving the girl private piano lessons in her home when he abused her on Feb. 18, 2018.

On that day, while in her basement, Hogue, 35, showed the girl pornography on his phone and then convinced her to strip naked while he video recorded her.

He also asked the girl to touch him sexually.

When police seized Hogue’s phone they discovered more than 1,300 images and videos depicting child pornography that had been downloaded in a nearly four-year period.

Because the victim could not indicate the ages of the “boys” and “girls” Hogue showed her engaged in sexual activity, it wasn’t known whether she was shown children having sex.

Labrenz said the fact there was no actual physical contact did not mitigate Hogue’s crime in any significant way.

“The offence itself does not require . . . that some physical touching occur,” he said.

The judge said suggesting the lack of contact was less harmful would be akin to arguing sexual touching was not as traumatic to a child as forced intercourse.

“It is a myth that the mere sexual touching of children is less harmful,” Labrenz said.

“Sentencing judges err when they put too great an emphasis on the nature of the physical contact.”

He noted the effect Hogue’s crimes had on the parents of the girl, who trusted him as an educator for their child.

“As expected, the statements (from the parents) were difficult to listen to,” he said.

“The parents feel inadequate and ashamed. They wonder what they did wrong, when the question should be (about) what (Hogue) did wrong.”

Labrenz said while he couldn’t find that the teacher planned the sexual encounter in advance — as suggested by Beland, who noted Hogue downloaded 87 child pornography videos just hours before — there was an element of grooming to the crime.

He also disagreed with Patel that his client acted spontaneously, finding Hogue’s behaviour was calculated.

Twitter: @KMartinCourts


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