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Crown urges 12 years for two men over violent sexual assault in Toronto bar

Last Updated Jan 29, 2020 at 3:50 pm EST

Gavin MacMillan and Enzo De Jesus Carrasco arrive at the University Avenue courthouse on Oct. 30, 2019. CITYNEWS

A bar owner and his manager convicted of a violent, videotaped gang sex assault of a barely conscious woman deserve 12 years in prison, a prosecutor said on Wednesday.

In arguing for the sentence, the Crown lambasted the men for their “disturbing misogyny” and the hours-long attack on the vulnerable victim.

“It’s hard to picture a more shocking sex assault than what was shown on that video,” prosecutor Rick Nathanson told Ontario Superior Court. “As time went on, it becomes chillingly deliberate.”

A jury last month convicted the accused, Enzo De Jesus Carrasco, 34, and Gavin MacMillan, 44, of gang sexual assault and administering a stupefying drug to their then-24-year-old victim.

The “intensely violent and lengthy sexual assault,” Nathanson said, occurred Dec. 14, 2016, in the downtown College Street Bar MacMillan owned.

Nathanson produced numerous crude text messages between the owner and his manager in the runup to the attack, indicating the surveillance video in the bar was deliberately set up to capture such incidents.

An aggravating factor, Nathanson said, is the almost six-hour recording that further traumatized the victim, who otherwise has only vague memories of the attack.

Nathanson urged the judge to impose a nine-year term for the sexual assault and a further three years – to be served consecutively – for the drug offence.

The prosecutor heaped scorn on glowing references about the first-time offenders that the defence introduced in its submissions.

“These are men with two sides to them: A public persona and a more private persona,” Nathanson said.

Neither is a hormonal teenager but rather mature adults who had a responsibility for the well-being of their bar patrons, he said.

Defence lawyer Sean Robichaud said a one to two-year sentence for MacMillan, who is under house arrest, would be appropriate for what he conceded was a “terrible” situation.

While the prosecution had asserted the men forcibly confined the victim in the bar, Robichaud noted the 11-person jury deadlocked on a charge of unlawful confinement.

The lawyer praised his client – the father of a five year old – as a respectable businessman who donated to charities. Supporters, including a former police officer, maintained the incident was out of character, the lawyer said.

“Mr. MacMillan has always maintained his innocence,” Robichaud said. “He’s now lost everything; the impact on his life has been catastrophic.”

Uma Kancharla, lawyer for De Jesus Carrasco, called for a sentence in the range of six months less a day to a maximum two years. Her client, she said, was an immigrant with a master’s degree in culinary arts, had looked after his younger sisters, and had a solid work ethic.

“He has very good chances of integrating back into society,” Kancharla said.

Earlier, the victim’s mother read a statement in which she described the emotionally crippling legacy the attack left on her daughter. Choking back tears, she spoke of the impact on the entire family and how her daughter has been changed.

“My daughter was such a loving, happy, creative, trusting individual,” said the woman, who can’t be identified to protect the victim’s identity. “It was all taken away from her.”

The victim, court heard, would repeatedly wake up screaming from nightmares and flinch when loved ones tried to touch or hug her.

The mother questioned whether the two offenders had ever stopped to consider the “heart-wrenching” impact of their violence.

“The first three months after this happened, she could barely leave my house,” the mother said. “She used to be such a physically active and positive person. Now she can’t even walk for long periods.”

At the start of the sentencing hearing, Justice Michael Dambrot rejected a defence request to declare a mistrial in light of a recent Court of Appeal ruling related to jury selection. At least one of the men has filed an appeal based on the decision.

Dambrot said it would be unwise for him to make a decision given the law is still not settled.

He reserved his sentencing decision for two weeks.