Prince George Citizen

November 26, 1999

Pornographer gets 13 years

by PAUL STRICKLAND, Citizen staff
Prince George Citizen

Saying the obligation to protect children is at the heart of the justice system, Mr. Justice Glen Parrett sentenced convicted child pornographer Crystal Dianne Henricks to 13 years in prison Thursday. There was applause from most of the 45 people in the courtroom gallery at the end of the sentencing session.

At a sentencing hearing Oct. 26, the Crown and the defence in a joint submission called for two years in prison beyond time already served, followed by three years of probation. In prefatory remarks before his decision Thursday, Parrett said that, with all due respect, he viewed the joint submission for two years in prison as irresponsible, based on expediency.

"It amounts to an invitation to the court to destroy the public's confidence in the ability of the judicial system to uphold the principles that are fundamental to our society," the judge said.

Defence lawyer Keith Aartsen said the sentence would be appealed.

Henricks, 21, has been in custody since Sept. 12, 1997. That was the date police searched the Willow River trailer where she lived with her husband and co-accused James Darren Bennett, 39, and seized child pornography tapes and other evidence.

"She had no concern for the children and their feelings," Parrett said.

"And she had no concern for the parents of the young victims. . . . Their victim-impact statements are compelling in the heartbreak her actions have caused them and their families."

On April 20 a B.C. Supreme Court jury found Henricks guilty of eight of the 15 counts against her. The convictions were on three counts of sexual assault, three counts of administering an overpowering or stupefying drug for purposes of a sexual offence, one count of making child pornography and one count of sexual touching of a young person. Victims included pre-teen and teenage girls and one pre-school boy.

In her statement to the court, Henricks said, "I just want to say I'm sorry to the victims and all the pain I caused them. I didn't intentionally mean to cause them harm. I hope that in future I will get to have a relationship with my children." Henricks has two small children, one born after she was taken into custody; both are now in the care of relatives.

The judge said he was aware his decision might be appealed. But he said an appellate court or parole officials who might be inclined to shorten Henricks's time in prison should first watch the pornographic videotapes entered in evidence in her trial to appreciate their full horror.

On a separate indictment, Bennett pleaded guilty March 3 to 11 counts in the child-pornography case. The proceedings on whether he should be declared a dangerous offender continue Dec. 6.