Saskatchewan police are looking for a 48-year-old aboriginal male charged with two counts of sexually assaulting a girl under the age of 16, assault, and causing her to miscarry her pre-born child.
“Investigators have been unable to locate Vincent Desjarlais and believe that he is actively attempting to evade police in Manitoba and/or Saskatchewan,” a RCMP press release states.
An unnamed health care worker from Wadena, SK, told police in May about the girl’s assault and miscarriage. A police investigation led to Desjarlais and a warrant was put out for his arrest.
Police say they don’t typically issue a media release relating to sexual assault of a minor, but unsuccessful efforts to locate the offender, believed to be actively evading capture, have forced them to ask the public for help.
Desjarlais is described as 5’10’’, 176 pounds, and being of medium build. He has brown eyes and black hair that may be tied in a ponytail. He has several tattoos including one on his right forearm of a heart with the text “F**k You.”
“The violence committed against the young girl is tragic,” Jack Fonseca of Campaign Life Coalition told LifeSiteNews. “She was victimized twice. Once by sexual assault, and again by causing her to miscarry. This older man allegedly killed her baby and stole her motherhood away. I can’t imagine the suffering she must be going through over this grievous injustice.”
According to Canada’s Criminal Code, anyone besides a physician who attempts to “procure the miscarriage of a female person” is guilty of an “indictable offence” and liable to life imprisonment.
Father Jeffrey Stephaniuk, a Ukrainian Catholic priest who blogs for the Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association, told LifeSiteNews that research shows “it is not unwanted pregnancy that is rampant, but rather unwanted abortion.”
While Stephaniuk suspects the young girl lost her unborn baby through the unwilled violent action of the perpetrator, the facts remain unclear at this point.
“[Perhaps] she was kicked, or thrown down the stairs, or punched, or forced to drink something that initiated the abortion of her child,” he said.
An RCMP spokesperson in Wadena, SK told LifeSiteNews that further details about the girl’s case, including her procured miscarriage, are “restricted” due to possible future legal proceedings.
Gwendolyn Landolt of REAL Women of Canada said it was “gratifying” that the Code will be used to offer this young girl some justice by going after the man who tried to remove the “evidence of his wrong-doing” by eliminating the unborn child.
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“I think it’s fortunate that there’s some action against him, that he’s not getting away with that,” she told LifeSiteNews.
Stephaniuk noted that Canadian law does not recognize the child in the womb as a person who is afforded legal protection, adding that the ‘procuring miscarriage’ section of the code “may seem archaic and nearly impossible to reach a conviction on.”
In 2010, the House of Commons failed to pass Bill C-510, which would have made it a crime to coerce a woman into having an abortion. “Roxanne’s law,” named after Roxanne Fernando — who was beat and left to die in a snow bank by her boyfriend in 2007 after she refused to abort their child — had the goal of offering legal protection to women who choose to keep their babies.
Stephaniuk said the man’s conviction for ‘procuring miscarriage’ might have “huge implications for questioning the status quo on abortion in Canada.”
Fonseca agrees: “If he’s proven guilty, I hope they throw the book at him. I hope this case catches the attention of our federal politicians so they can look at strengthening our laws to deter this kind of violence against children in the womb. Even a national awareness campaign would be a good start.”