Michal Popek terrorized Burnaby and ruined the lives of multiple victims.
Popek sexually assaulted four women who were strangers to him – including two women walking on Burnaby trails in broad daylight in February and March of 2016. One of those assaults, on a 17-year-old girl, lasted for 40 minutes.
The judge called his crimes “every woman's worst nightmare” as she handed out a 12-year prison sentence and a 10-year long-term supervision order once he’s out.
Good, he’s in jail and will be there for a while, but there are some troubling things brought up in court that I want to highlight.
First, 12 years sounds like a lot but it won’t be long before he’s out. With credit for time served, there are about five years left on Popek's sentence, which means he’ll be out well before he even turns 50.
Aside from that, according to the NOW’s coverage of the case, two medical experts in the case concluded Popek is “a low risk to reoffend and is treatable.”
I’m sorry, what? No, I’m not a “medical expert” but I find that troubling. Mainly it’s because these two experts don’t know what Popek will be like when he gets out of prison.
Spending years in prison, especially for sexually assaulting a minor, will be hard time. Who knows what kind of abuse Popek has or will face before he gets out? Couple that with the fact he is already a violent piece of garbage, I am highly skeptical about his “low risk to reoffend.” I get frustrated when experts make these kinds of conclusions about criminals because it seems like such a huge leap.
Also troubling is what B.C. provincial court Judge Ellen Gordon said in a November sentencing ruling. She described Popek's crimes as “violent and horrific” but noted his remorse appeared genuine and that he had pleaded guilty.
Oh, he appeared genuine with his remorse, did he? Or perhaps he’s just a good actor trying to placate a judge. And who cares about his so-called remorse? It’s easy to show remorse after you’ve already been caught.
One thing we’ve heard over and over again with the #MeToo reckoning is how angry women are at the justice system for too often giving men the benefit of the doubt for terrible behaviour.
I’m glad Popek is in prison, but I found many of these comments to be distasteful and even insulting to women. They deserve better.
Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.