Friday, December 7, 2012

Canada: Edmonton Soldier Pleads Guilty to Sexual Assault of American Tourist

Andrew Norman Wilson, a 23-year-old combat engineer stationed at CFB Edmonton, has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting an American woman staying at a downtown Halifax hotel with her husband in April 2010.

Wilson was scheduled to go on trial today (December 7) on charges of sexual assault, aggravated assault, forcible confinement, unlawfully being in a dwelling and choking a person, but alternatively has pleaded guilty to sexual assault only.

The defendant was arrested after Halifax Regional Police were called to the Four Points by Sheraton hotel, following the victim being attacked.

At the time, an American woman who had checked into the hotel with her husband for the Easter weekend was in a common area of the hotel purchasing a soda when a man began sexually assaulting her. Tragically, the incident occurred within an hour of arriving in Canada.

Fortunately, the victim persuaded her assailant to go back to her room, where she yelled for her husband, at which point her husband and the assailant got into an altercation, resulting in the notification of hotel staff and the assailant's arrest.

COMMENT. According to Crown prosecutor Catherine Cogswell the couple eventually separated and divorced because they were unable to move on from the emotional impact of the incident.

Ms. Cogswell said she would be asking for a five-year prison term, as well as a DNA sample, a weapons prohibition and the placement of Wilson's name on the national sex offender registry.

Tourists and travelers alike are cautioned that sex crimes can occur anywhere in the world, even in cases when a spouse or significant other accompanies a would-be victim on a trip.

It is essential that solo travelers and couples alike review the possible threats that may be encountered abroad and how they will respond to such a crisis.

At a minimum, all travelers should carry a mobile phone, configure the local police emergency number into their speed-dialer and consider strategies  designed to  prevent such traumatizing events.