Warning: The story contains graphic detail, which some readers may find disturbing.
A Port Alberni man has pleaded guilty to assaulting sex workers as young as teenagers in Nanaimo.
Stephen Bradley Ewing, pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault with a weapon, threats or causing bodily harm; two counts of sexual assault and one count of attempting to choke to overcome resistance, during sentencing at provincial court in Nanaimo Tuesday, Sept. 28.
Nanaimo RCMP arrested Ewing in August 2019 and the sexual assault causing bodily harm charges were said to have occurred between March and October 2018, police said at the time. The incidents took place in the Nanaimo and Parksville area, including some at a cabin in an isolated area in Lantzville.
On Tuesday, Ewing also pleaded guilty to a new charge of sexual assault, sworn last week, for an incident that took place in October 2018.
Nick Barber, Crown counsel, said the ages of the seven workers involved ranged between 15-40 years, although both he and Bert King, defence counsel, stated Ewing wasn’t aware some of the workers were underage.
Barber said Ewing would set up meetings with the sex trade workers online and displayed a propensity for violent sex, sometimes involving choking and going against women’s pre-determined boundaries. One incident involved two workers, one 15 years old and another 16 years old.
A June 2019 incident in Parksville involved a 26-year-old woman who made it clear acts of violent sex were not permitted; however, during intercourse, Ewing began choking the woman, Barber said.
In some instances, some of the workers reported the incidents to police, but were turned away, said Barber.
With his guilty pleas, King said his client was sparing victims a trial. He had no previous criminal record, obeyed all his bail conditions and has taken a great deal of counselling over the past few years.
Judge Brian Harvey, who presided over the hearing, is set to make a sentencing decision Oct. 27. In the meantime, Ewing, in anticipation of a sentence, is on his way to jail.
Sentencing, originally scheduled for this morning, was delayed until the afternoon, due to the new charge sworn against Ewing, as King sought more time to confer with his client.
Barber sought a six-year jail sentence, while King sought between four and six years.