Kitchener dangerous offender will pose ‘elevated risk’ for many years, judge says

KITCHENER — A Kitchener man who raped a stranger in 2018 poses an “elevated risk” to reoffend, a judge said in declaring him a dangerous offender.

Brian De La Cruz, 33, was convicted of aggravated sexual assault, overcoming resistance by strangling, and uttering death threats in an attack on a woman who was walking home at night.

“The Crown has proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Mr. De La Cruz’s inability to control his sexual impulses will likely cause injury, pain, or other evil to other persons through failure in the future to control his sexual impulses,” Superior Court Justice Catrina Braid said on Wednesday.

“Mr. De La Cruz will continue to be an elevated risk to the community for many years.”

The judge declared De La Cruz a dangerous offender — a designation reserved for Canada’s worst criminals — and sentenced him to 15 years in prison, minus credit of seven years for time spent in pretrial custody. When he leaves prison, De La Cruz will be closely supervised in the community for 10 years.

The supervision will “hold him accountable if he does not comply with strict terms of release,” Braid said.

The attack at 2:15 am in 2018, near Grand River Hospital, lasted almost 40 minutes. De La Cruz strangled, choked, punched and raped a 51-year-old woman. She lost consciousness and thought she was going to die.

He first saw her while driving.

“Mr. De La Cruz drove past the victim twice, driving slowly the second time.” Braid said. “He parked the car, ran across the street, and began following her.

“Mr. De La Cruz grabbed the victim off the street and took her behind a building to commit the sexual assault. This was a particularly violent and horrific sexual assault on a vulnerable stranger.”

He told the woman he would teach her not to walk alone at night.

“The words used by Mr. De La Cruz during the attack were intended to degrade and terrify the victim,” Braid said.

“A random attack on an innocent stranger shakes the community,” she said, quoting a 2020 Ontario Court of Appeal ruling, “and breeds fear that anyone is a potential target.”

De La Cruz was diagnosed as having an antisocial personality disorder and traits of a narcissistic personality disorder.

“He has disturbing cognitive distortions about women,” Braid said. “He agreed with statements such as ‘women often falsely accused men of rape’ and ‘a lot of women claim they were raped just because they want attention.’ He has no insight into how those distortions have led to the sexual offense.”

One month before the sexual assault, De La Cruz assaulted a female stranger, 18, in Waterloo.

“He entered her apartment, turned off the lights, pulled her hair, and pushed her to the ground,” Braid said. “He was on top of her and tried to scratch her face. During the struggle, her head hit the wall and table. She screamed as loud as she could. He fled the apartment after a few minutes.”

He also slapped his former common-law spouse when she told him she planned to have a relationship with someone else.

“You belong to me,” he told her.

De La Cruz began using cocaine at the age of 19 and MDMA in 2018, the year he sexually assaulted the woman walking home. His family members said he was a “different person” before he began taking drugs.

“Mr. De La Cruz appears to blame his offending behavior on the consumption of drugs without recognizing his underlying issues,” Braid said.

“At sentencing, he apologized for his actions and the pain that he caused. However, he still lacks insight into his offending behaviour, the impact on the victims, or his need for treatment. He does not fully accept responsibility for his actions. He attributes his actions to something external and does not understand internal factors that contributed to his behaviour.”

Braid put De La Cruz on the sex offender registry for life. He can have no contact with the victim.

She set his long-term supervision order at 10 years, the maximum, “to ensure that he is supervised in the community and has access to continuous treatment and programming.”

The Parole Board of Canada will set the terms of the supervision order.

Braid said she recommends the board consider imposing 11 terms, including:

  • Follow a treatment plan for sexual offending, substance abuse and anger management.
  • Take medication to reduce sex drive.
  • Abstain from alcohol and drugs.
  • Take part in random drug and alcohol testing.

  • Live in stable housing and get a job.

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