Friday, December 07, 2001

Woman, 33, jailed for sex with boys

Judge says the law makes no distinction between genders

Kim Westad
Victoria Times Colonist

A 33-year-old woman who had sex with two teenage boys less than half her age was sent to prison for three years Friday.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Malcolm Macaulay said Teresa Basil "groomed troubled youths for her own sexual gratification" between 1997 and 1999, when she had consecutive relationships with two 14-year-old boys.

A jury found her guilty of two charges of sexual exploitation of a young person, and one charge of breaching a court order to stay away from one of the teens.

Basil is highly manipulative, Macaulay said, and still denies there was any sexual contact between herself and the boys. She blames the victims for wrongly accusing her, court heard.

During a trial that lasted almost eight weeks, the jury heard from two teenagers about their separate sexual relationships with Basil. Each testified of ongoing sexual intercourse with the woman, beginning when each of the teens was 14 years old.

The first relationship ended in the summer of 1997. The next began within weeks. It lasted two years, and carried on even after a court order banned Teresa Basil and her then-husband Gilbert Basil from any contact with the boy.

Gilbert Basil was convicted of breaching the court order and sentenced to three years probation, the maximum that can be ordered. He must do 100 hours of community work service within the first six months. The jury found him not guilty of the sex charges, although both teens testified he was present during some of the sexual encounters and sometimes participated.

Each of the boys was troubled, Macaulay said, and had little parental supervision, all of which must have been apparent to Teresa Basil. One boy was a ward of the government.

The Basils befriended the teens and became involved in their lives. The teens hung out at the Basil home, often when they should have been in school.

Teresa Basil targeted and groomed the teens for her own sexual gratification, Macaulay said, providing them with alcohol, cigarettes, and gifts. One boy was given a stereo.

When she was ordered by the court not to see him, she still kept up the relationship, using trickery and subterfuge to contact him.

The judge, and prosecutor Laureen Nowlan Card, emphasized that the case should not be looked at differently because it is a woman having sex with teenage boys.

Even if teens consent to have sex with people in a position of trust or authority over them, as Basil was, it is against the law.

Parliament, in writing the law, made no distinction between genders, the judge noted.

The section of the law is meant to recognize that a young person is not mature enough to consent to sex with a person in a position of trust over him or her. The power imbalance is too much.

"The responsibility rests entirely with the adult," Macaulay said.

Each of the teens said in victim-impact statements that he has suffered because of the relationship with Basil. One said he is angry, confused and ashamed. The other said he has low self-esteem and is depressed.

Basil, a small, skinny woman who walked slowly into court in shackles, told the judge her health is poor and will deteriorate even more in prison. About a dozen of her family and friends were in court to show their support.

Several of the jurors on the trial came to court for the sentencing. "I wanted to see how it all ended," said one.

Basil must give a sample of her DNA for the national DNA registry.

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