N.S. man acquitted of sex offences against teenage girls, but found guilty of assault

A Nova Scotia man has been acquitted of all but one of the 14 charges he faced that centred on allegations of sexual assault and sexual interference with teenage girls.

In an oral decision delivered Monday afternoon, Truro provincial court Judge Catherine Benton ruled that the Crown had failed to prove most of the offences against Robert Joseph Desutter, 33, who is from Hants County.

However, she convicted him on a single assault charge for lying on top of one of the girls and choking her.

The offences were alleged to have occurred between July 2019 and October 2021.

What the court heard

Evidence at his trial showed that Desutter met three girls, aged between 14 and 18, when they were in the care of the province. Their identities are protected by a publication ban.

The court was told that the girls would drive around with Desutter and go to his home. He supplied them with drugs, alcohol and cigarettes.

Court also heard that Desutter was fascinated with magic, and he persuaded the girls to let him perform the trick of sawing them in half, using a cardboard saw. He would roll up their tops to expose their abdomens, touch their navels and then proceed to "saw" them with his cardboard prop.

Benton ruled that did not constitute touching for a sexual purpose as defined in the Criminal Code.

The case will return to court later this month to set a date for sentencing.