Paul Cherry

Published: August 18, 2021

-Montreal Gazette


A man who brought an eight-year-old girl from Africa to Montreal where he used her as his sex slave for more than two years was sentenced Wednesday to an overall 18-year prison term

Quebec Court Judge Pierre Labelle delivered the sentence at the Montreal courthouse. He sentenced Sylvain Villemaire, 60, for six different crimes uncovered in 2018, while the Montreal police were trying to determine who was accessing child pornography from the internet at a building in Montreal where Villemaire resided with the victim.

Labelle sentenced Villemaire to two concurrent 10-year prison terms for two offences related to the sexual abuse he inflicted on the victim. Villemaire was also sentenced to an eight-year prison term for the human trafficking of a minor that he will have to serve consecutively.

The judge also sentenced Villemaire to prison terms of between 20 months and three years for having possessed, distributed and accessed child pornography.

Included among the aggravating factors Labelle factored into the sentence was how police found more than 8,000 files containing child pornography in Villemaire’s possession. He also noted that Villemaire used the child porn “to groom the victim.”

He also listed the “victim’s total dependence on the offender once in the country, which facilitated control” over the girl as another aggravating factor.

Last September, Villemaire pleaded guilty to four of the charges he faced. But he insisted on having a trial on the human trafficking charge as well as the charge that he distributed child pornography. Labelle found him guilty on both of those counts in February. Villemaire acted as his own lawyer throughout the trial.

A conviction for the human trafficking of a minor comes with a mandatory minimum five-year sentence.

“To this minimum sentence of five years, we must add the relative weight of the many aggravating factors (in Villemaire’s case). They are severe and have serious consequences for the victim,” Labelle said as he read from his 25-page decision. “Despite the nightmarish nature of this story, one can unfortunately imagine scenarios with more aggravating factors than those present here. I believe that an additional period of three years should be added to the minimum sentence.”