Over the course of months and years in the 1980s, Don Putt sexually assaulted two young boys in Agassiz.
Putt befriended neighbours and he groomed their two boys. It started with giving them babysitting jobs and work in his raspberry and corn fields.
The trauma Putt inflicted on the boys, now in their 40s, is hard to quantify.
But the fact that Putt will walk out of a federal prison on Jan. 16, 2020 because of Canada’s statutory release provisions is unacceptable to one of his victims who has remained in contact with The Progress.
“It feels as though so little time has passed since the sentencing hearing,” J.W. said via messaging on Tuesday. “It is difficult to accept that this is what Canada believes to be reasonable recompense for the deviant crimes of this manipulative predator.”
After pleading guilty to 15 to 20 illegal acts with each boy, a tiny fraction of what he really did, according to his victims, the 68-year-old Putt was sentenced on Oct. 19, 2017, to four years in jail for the ongoing sexual assaults.
Under Canada’s laws, federal offenders who have served two-thirds of a sentence are released from prison under supervision. Statutory release does not end an offender’s sentence, rather offenders serve what is left of their sentence in the community under strict conditions. They must report regularly to the Correctional Service of Canada, and violations could send them back to prison.
Given the 324 days he was credited in pre-trial custody, and in addition to a sentence for gross indecency and “indecent assault of a male on a male” (no longer in the criminal code) from the early 1970s in Abbotsford, his statutory release date is Jan. 16.
J.W. said he does not believe the public would feel Putt has paid for the damages he inflicted upon he and others.
“Crown was far too willing to negotiate away my right to justice,” J.W. said.
“I am firm in my belief that as long as he is breathing he will pose an unreasonable danger to children and young boys. Our justice system must do a better job of punishing child sex predators if getting caught is to form any type of deterrent to perpetrators like Putt, of these heinous damaging crimes. To be able to do this our system has to drop the shame that runs through it and actually be able to talk about and appropriately investigate the scope of these crimes with the victims.”
Putt, a former District of Kent alderman, never admitted to the full extent of what the boys said he did to them, and in a pre-sentence report the judge noted he downplayed or ignored the pain he caused the victims. He even denied his sexual proclivities by saying he does not fantasize about underage males.
“Crown pointed out this is false,” Judge Wendy Young said in 2017, pointing to a December 2016 conviction for child luring where he asked for naked photos of a 12-year-old boy.
Putt’s lawyer asked for a sentence of two years less a day to avoid federal time, at least in part because of his age but also his notoriety from that 2016 conviction that came from a sting by the controversial vigilante group Creep Catchers.
He received a six-month sentence after he showed up to the Vedder Crossing McDonald’s to meet who he thought was a 12-year-old boy only to be met members of Creep Catchers.
A Parole Board of Canada spokesperson said they could not say what community Putt would be living in upon his statutory release next month.
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