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'Monster': Crown seeks up to 9-year sentence in child sex assault

'I called you dad. I trusted you, I loved you and I thought I was safe with you,' says man's stepdaughter, who asked for publication ban to be lifted
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A former Barrie man who was convicted earlier this year of sexually assaulting a girl has told the court he's being treated for three different kinds of cancers.

Richard Sticklee, 59, who also has a history of fraud, was convicted on four counts of sexual assault in January, following a three-day trial in December 2022.

Ontario Superior Justice Catriona Verner lifted the publication ban on the victim’s name during Thursday’s sentencing hearing, following her request. That means the name of the accused can now be used.

Crown attorney Lindsay Weis, who is seeking a sentence of eight to nine years, read Trinity Waide’s victim impact statement into the court.

In what the judge described as a “very compelling” statement, she wrote about how the sexual assault perpetrated on her by her stepfather when she was a young child has impacted her and continues to haunt her. 

“I called you dad. I trusted you, I loved you and I thought I was safe with you,” the statement began. “I learned not all thieves break down your door, smash your windows or threaten your life. You walked down the hall to my room to say goodnight, always leaving with a part of the innocent child I should have been.

“The monster lived down the hall of my bedroom.”

Although 17 years have passed since she was last abused by him, Waide says she still suffers from the disassociation that she used as a coping mechanism and that she’s felt “desperately alone.”

Self-harm through cutting, starting at age nine, helped to take away some of the pain he inflicted, she added. By 14, she was drinking heavily. And she considered some of the ways she could permanently put an end to her pain and her life.

She felt hopeless in the reality of what happened. 

“I was suffocating with every breath,” Waide wrote. “My nightmares went beyond when I was asleep.

"Trauma isn’t something that ever goes away ... My inner child found peace on judgment day.”

Court had earlier heard that the combined family fell apart after five years when the girl’s mother discovered Sticklee was stealing from her.

Much of Thursday’s hearing focused on Sticklee’s illness. He told the court he has a brain tumour that he described as inoperable. He also said he has B-cell lymphoma in the throat as well as malignant melanoma.

“I am waiting to go in to have this nodule removed from my throat,” he told the court. “It’s getting larger, it’s getting harder to swallow.” 

In making her submission for a lengthy sentence, the Crown attorney pointed to a recent Supreme Court of Canada decision that emphasized sentences for sexual offences against children should be more severe.

His history of fraud, Weis added, combined with his “prolonged, frequent abuse” of his stepdaughter, suggests that he has a sense of entitlement, simply taking what he wants despite its impact upon others.

“The info that you have been provided is genuine and true to the best of his knowledge,” Sticklee’s lawyer, David Wilcox, told the court.

The case returns to court Aug. 9 to set a date for sentencing.