A man from the Thunder Bay District convicted of sexual assault and sexual interference involving a minor has been sentenced to eight years in prison.

The 67-year-old offender was convicted last fall of the offences, which took place between 2008 and 2014, beginning when the complainant was seven years old.

The offender cannot be identified as it could serve to identify the complainant, whose identify is protected by a publication ban.

Justice Bonnie Warkentin delivered her sentence Wednesday morning at the Thunder Bay Courthouse and said the offender was in a position of trust and authority over the complainant; he was an elder family member and at times was the complainant’s caregiver.

The offender is nearly 49 years older than the victim and Warkentin said there was some use of force in the offences.

The offender has no prior criminal record and maintains his innocence. Fourteen letters of support were written in support of the offender. They all described him in a positive light.

However, Warkentin said the letters cannot be considered a mitigating factor when there are sexual offences against children.

The offender must also submit a DNA sample as well as report to the sexual offender registry for 20 years and is subject to a weapons ban.

He is also prohibited from contacting the complainant or being within one kilometre of her.

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