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Baker man found guilty of sexually touching underage girl

Patrick Pattunguyak awaits sentencing for 2018 crimes

Editor’s note: This story contains details that some readers may find disturbing

A Nunavut judge has found Patrick Pattunguyak of Baker Lake guilty of sexually touching an underage girl in 2018.

The victim’s name is under a publication restriction, as she was 14 at the time. Pattunguyak was 24 and knew her age at the time of the incident.

The victim testified that she and her friend were drinking alcohol and scrolling Facebook on Oct. 21, 2018 and contacted Pattunguyak over the social media platform. He suggested they come to his place, but that first meeting didn’t materialize.

The next night, the victim testified to have been smoking weed and messaged Pattunguyak to see him in person. The victim testified that he was waiting outside his house, gave her a cigarette and asked if he could come closer.

“She did not know what to say and he kissed her on the lips,” wrote Justice Susan Charlesworth in her judgement.

According to the victim’s testimony, the two proceeded to go to his bedroom, but they only talked that night. The next night, the victim messaged Pattunguyak again and asked to come over. This time, he touched her over her clothes.

“She moved his hand and said he should not do that,” wrote Charlesworth in her summary of the victim’s testimony.

While the two watched videos on an iPod, Pattunguyak allegedly tried to put his hands down her pants again and asked for sex, to which she declined. He allegedly asked to pay her and she declined again before leaving.

The next day, the victim testified that she returned to Pattunguyak’s house.

“They kissed again and then he threw her on the bed and spread her legs while kissing her and touching her stomach,” wrote Charlesworth in her summary of the testimony. “She did not know what to do and told him no. Mr. Pattunguyak was inside her for about 10 minutes and then ‘went to the washroom or something.’”

At that point, the victim panicked and went to the washroom to find blood on her crotch. She testified that she told Pattunguyak she was bleeding and went to her friend’s house.

That November, the victim tested positive for chlamydia. She reported having sexual contact with two people, one of them she listed as “Patrick Pattuk.” She testified that the other was a lie.

Charlesworth said she understood the victim purposefully misstated the defendant’s surname to save him from getting in trouble, as the victim’s mother was in the room at the time of the report being filed.

The victim’s mother testified that following the sexual contact, her daughter “became really angry and started drinking.” However, cross-examination showed that her daughter had been drinking and smoking cannabis before the encounters with Pattunguyak.

The victim’s father said he went to Pattunguyak’s home on the night of the incident and saw Pattunguyak coming down the hall with the victim’s arm over his shoulder while Pattunguyak was pulling up her pants.

Pattunguyak did not give any evidence in his defence, as is his legal right. His family testified that they never saw the victim’s father come into the home and they did not see Pattunguyak with any girl in the house. They added that members of the family were always in the home and Pattunguyak was never alone.

The defence argued that there were several reasons to doubt the victim’s case.

“First, it argues that the statement (the victim) gave to Const. McLaughlin of the RCMP on April 1, 2019 shows that (the victim’s) story has evolved considerably since it was first told,” wrote Charlesworth in her summary.

The defence also pointed out that the victim’s friend was not called as a witness, no Facebook messages were produced as evidence, the victim did not write Pattunguyak’s name on the health form after being treated for chlamydia, no one saw the victim at Pattunguyak’s home and her memories were muddied from intoxication.

In her decision, Charlesworth noted that the idea Pattunguyak was “never alone” in his home was exaggeration. She analyzed the discrepancies between the victim’s story and what she told the RCMP in 2019, but noted that the differences “do not raise a doubt within (the victim’s) evidence.”

Charlesworth found that the Crown proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Pattunguyak is guilty of touching the victim, who was under the age of 16, for a sexual purpose that included kissing and sexual intercourse. She also found him guilty of two counts of breach of recognizance.

His sentencing has not yet been determined.