Wikwemikong Tribal Police Chief Terry McCaffrey gets eight month conditional sentence . (File Photo)
By Lori Thompson
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Wikwemikong Tribal Police Service’s former police chief has been sentenced
to an eight-month conditional sentence that will include four months house arrest for sexually assaulting a female employee and another four months under a curfew.
Terry McCaffrey will also be added to the national sex offender registry (SOIRA) for 10 years and is required to provide a DNA sample all as part of his eight-month conditional sentence. He was sentenced in December 2022.
For four months, Terry McCaffrey will be under house arrest and subject to a 9 pm to 6 am curfew .
McCaffrey was convicted of sexual assault of an employee in April 2022. Court was told McCaffrey was at work when he grabbed the breast of an employee of the Manitoulin Island police force in March 2019 . The employee cannot be named under a court-ordered publication ban.
“This was not a romantic overture gone wrong; it was an expression of power,” said Justice J. Elliott Allen.
Before Justice Allen read out the sentence, the victim told the court the whole process has been hard. “My healing journey is still ongoing,” she said.
The Crown had requested a jail sentence of three to five months, while defence counsel suggested a conditional discharge would be appropriate. Justice Allen was “of the view” that a conditional discharge was inadequate to meet the principles of sentencing, and that as a former police officer, Mr. McCaffrey would be in danger if placed in custody.
Although Mr. McCaffrey’s actions were a “gross breach of trust” against the victim, the police service and the community, Justice Allen said he believed it was “society’s best interest” that he remain gainfully employed. Mr. McCaffrey is currently working as a gym manager and is the main financial supporter of his family.
The court heard that Mr. McCaffrey is Indigenous but was denied legal status until Bill C-31 “partially rectified the misogyny of the Indian Act.” Court was told he lives with post traumatic stress disorder due to the “tragedies he witnessed in the course of his service.” He suffered abuse and bullying as a child but “prevailed” with 25 years of service in various tribal police forces, including as chief of Wikwemikong Tribal Police Service.
Mr. McCaffrey has “thrown away 25 years of work in one moment,” Justice Allen said. “He has done himself more damage than any sentence I can impose.”
The conditional sentence achieved the “clear intention” of Gladue to reduce the “overrepresentation of Indigenous people in jails” and balanced the various factors under consideration in the case.
Mr. McCaffrey is currently residing in Thompson, Manitoba. He will be appealing the conviction.
Lori Thompson is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter with THE MANITOULIN EXPOSITOR. The LJI program is federally funded. With Turtle Island News files.