Published November 15, Updated April 24, Lynnette Traverse listened in stunned disbelief yesterday as a Manitoba judge told her she would be free in a matter of hours despite having been convicted of one the province's most shocking sex crimes. Her mouth agape, she threw her hands up to her face, and then looked over at her co-accused, Terry Ladouceur, who smiled back at her. As the convicted couple were led from court in shackles, members of the victims' families exploded in anger, shouting "Pig" at a grinning Mr.
Ladouceur, and uttering threats against Ms. Story continues below advertisement The pair, who have been compared to Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo, were found guilty of abducting and sexually assaulting girls of 12 and 13 years old and holding them as sex slaves. Traverse was described in court as an active participant in the sexual assaults who held one young victim by the shoulders while Mr.
She played no part in the abduction, but was guilty of forcible confinement, the judge said. She was sentenced to four years in prison, but was granted two-for-one credit for the two years she had spent in pretrial custody. The Crown had been seeking a sentence of six to eight years. Ladouceur was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but Mr. Justice Gerald Jewers of the Court of Queen's Bench gave him only three years' credit for two years in pretrial custody, based in part on his "somewhat appalling bad behaviour" in prison.
The Crown had sought a sentence of 16 to 18 years in his case. The judge said neither of the accused had a significant prior criminal history, which mitigated against a longer sentence.
Story continues below advertisement Story continues below advertisement "With the female, unfortunately she's a free woman today. Ladouceur, 34, and Ms. Traverse, 25, lived together in a house in Winnipeg's Point Douglas neighbourhood. The first assault occurred in , on a girl who was 13 at the time.
The initial indictment said the assaults were repeated, although only one count was proved in court. The victim, now 20, eventually became pregnant with Mr. Story continues below advertisement Her life subsequently spun out of control through acts like drug use and prostitution, and the baby was eventually seized by Manitoba's child and family services division. The second victim was 12 when she was assaulted in the spring of In a medical report filed in court, one of the victims said Mr. Ladouceur used to stalk her on her way to school.
She even tried taking circuitous paths to avoid him and would often skip class, pretending she had slept in. In one case, the girl was tied with plastic strips at the ankles and wrists and raped by Mr. Traverse held her down. She was also given drugs and alcohol. A social worker's report filed in court describes the devastation wrought on the victim, now It says she feels depressed, isolated and has difficulty trusting adults. It also says she wishes she had not come forward, and blames herself for the subsequent deterioration of her family.
She was placed in foster care, but is often missing. The report notes that the girl "articulates having no hopes, no dreams, no plans and no wishes. She says she doesn't care what happens to her, always adding she just wants to live at home. As of this writing I do not know where she is. Traverse chatted amicably while sitting in the prisoner's box.
Ladouceur, his black hair swept back in a ponytail, draped a tattooed arm over the back of the box, while Ms. Traverse, wearing small, round spectacles, whispered to him. Although the couple appeared surprised that Ms. Traverse would be freed yesterday, they had plotted in their prison letters to spend as much time as possible in pretrial custody.
In a letter to Ms. Traverse dated June 24 this year, Mr. Ladouceur ran through a detailed plan to attempt to delay sentencing until May of On the day of the sentencing hearing, he wrote, "just refuse to come to court. She could also fire her lawyer, imposing delays that could cut their time in prison by as much as a year.
In a postscript, Mr. Ladouceur talked of buying a house in the country, away from nosy neighbours, and did some soul-searching that would not sound out of place on a TV talk show. Maybe it was to bring you and I back together. We had a lot of good times you and I. Traverse could be the lead singer, like eighties female rockers Pat Benatar or Joan Jett. Ladouceur's names will be included in the national sex-offender registry. As well, both are prevented from seeking jobs that involve working with children.