A Port Moody man caught masturbating in his vehicle beside a transit bus in Burnaby last May has apologized to the 15-year-old girl who reported him and commended her courage.
Patrick Joseph Paul Pelletier, 60, was charged last August with committing an indecent act in a public place.
The charges relate to an incident on May 12, 2022 on Lougheed Highway near Gaglardi Way.
Pelletier was in a vehicle going west on Lougheed Highway and pulled up next to the back of a transit bus in the left lane, according to agreed facts presented in court.
A 15-year-old girl on the bus looked over and saw he was wearing no pants and masturbating while staring at her.
The teen videoed Pelletier with her phone and reported him.
“She was shocked and afraid and told her parents about the incident when she returned home,” Crown prosecutor Louise Gauld said.
Pelletier’s vehicle was eventually identified through CCTV footage, and a search warrant executed at his house turned up a jacket that matched a suspect description, according to Gauld.
He was in Vancouver provincial court Monday to plead guilty.
In a joint sentencing submission, Gauld and defence lawyer Michael Gismondi called for a conditional discharge with two years of probation.
Gismondi said Pelletier, who has no criminal record, had expressed his intention to plead guilty “very early” in the case.
“He takes full responsibility for his actions,” Gismondi said.
Since the incident, Gismondi said Pelletier has sought counselling, and his psychologist has indicated he has “excellent insights” in his offending behaviour.
Before B.C. provincial court Judge Gregory Rideout imposed the conditional discharge, Pelletier apologized to his victim and the court.
“I’d like to apologize to the victim and all those close to her for the harm I’ve caused them,” he said. “I’m really sorry. And, furthermore, I thank the victim for her brave act in reporting this. It forced me out of the dark place where my heart was sinking, and it made me to seek the help that I need.”
Under the terms of his probation, he must continue with counselling as directed by his probation officer.
He is banned from unsupervised contact with children under the age of 16 and from going to public places where they might be.
He is also banned from being in public, including any vehicle, without pants on.
If Pelletier abides by the terms of his probation, he will have no criminal record.
This article has been corrected. It originally identified the lawyer representing Pelletier at the hearing as Lee Vandergust. His lawyer at sentencing was, in fact, Michael Gismondi. We regret the error.