Narapati Osti

SAINT JOHN – A man charged with molesting an eight-year-old boy in a city park has admitted to touching the child and told police he’ll never do it again. Narapati Osti, 34, pleaded guilty to sexual assault in provincial court on Monday and apologized twice for his actions. “I am sorry,” he told the boy and his family. Osti, who is from Nepal, spoke through a translator as he sat in the front row of the courtroom. The identity of the boy and his family is protected by a publication ban. Crown prosecutor Patrick Wilbur told the court that police were called by a concerned parent about a sexual assault against her eight-year-old son on Oct. 2, 2010. She had been notified by her son’s former teacher who had witnessed “something untoward” in a park known as Allison Grounds in the city’s north end. Police contacted the teacher, who explained that she had witnessed a man, later identified as Osti, hanging around the play set and beckon a young boy. She saw him pick up the boy, place him on his lap and put his arm around the boy. Though she didn’t see exactly what happened next, the teacher, who was sitting in her vehicle near the park, honked her horn and the boy ran off. Wilbur went on to say that the child’s mother, however, told police that when she asked her son what happened in the park, he told her the man “rubbed the front of his pants in the groin area.” Several days later, the teacher again saw Osti in the park and took a picture of him, which police used to identify him. Wilbur said that when Osti was arrested, he told police that he did “touch the boy’s penis and that he wouldn’t do that again.” In court on Monday, the boy’s father read his son’s victim impact statement and in it, the child explains how he felt “abused” when it occurred and that after it happened, he wouldn’t go back to the park unless he was with someone he trusts. “Now I feel scared to be alone,” the boy wrote. His mother tried to read her victim impact statement, but couldn’t continue because she broke down in tears. Instead, her husband read both his own and her statement. “I feel angry with myself for not protecting my son,” wrote the mother. “Each day I look at my son, I feel I failed him.” Both parents explained in their statements that their son has had trouble in school since the offence and has had to have counseling because of the crime. The father told the court that his son has even tried to get into trouble at school so that, as punishment, teachers would keep him inside the school and deny him time in the playground at lunch and recess. Playgrounds are no longer places he wants to go. He also told the court that he has struggled with his own anger over the assault on his son and remains concerned about what is being done to “protect the other children in the neighbourhood.” Provincial court Judge William McCarroll told the boy that “he did nothing wrong” and in fact, did absolutely the right thing to tell the police what happened to him. “I’m proud you did what you did,” he told the child. The judge also reassured his parents that they “did everything right.” Both the prosecutor and defence lawyer Margaret Gallagher made a joint submission for sentencing, asking the judge to impose a conditional sentence so that Osti can serve his time in the community with strict conditions that would prevent him from being in public areas where there are children. McCarroll agreed and sentenced him to a six-month conditional sentence and one year of supervised probation. For a period of two years, the judge said, Osti is prohibited from attending areas where there are children under 16, including parks, swimming areas, community centres, schools or daycares. The only circumstance in which Osti can attend these places, he said, is with his own children and in the presence of a responsible adult over 19. He also ordered that Osti provide a DNA sample and that he comply with the Sex Offender Registry for 10 years.

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Provided by the Sexual Abuse Network of Canada