Woman gets one-year jail term for having sexual relationship with 12-year-old boy

Rosie Mullaley
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A St. John’s judge posed a sobering question to Ashley Brake.

Ashley Brake (right) is seen on a TV screen in Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s Thursday with her lawyer Sandi MacKinnon prior to Brake’s sentencing. The women appeared via video link from Newfoundland Supreme Court in Corner Brook. — Photo by Rosie Mullaley/The Telegram

“I ask Miss Brake, if it had been one of her sons who fell victim to the same behaviour, what she would want for the offender?” Justice Gillian Butler said while sentencing Brake at Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s Thursday afternoon.

The judge then gave Brake a one-year jail term, with three years’ probation, for having sexual relations with a 12-year-old boy.

“It is, no doubt, every parent’s nightmare,” the judge added.

Brake — a mother of two young sons — had no reaction to the decision, but could be seen smiling as a sheriff’s officer handcuffed her and led her out of court.

Brake appeared in the St. John’s court via video link with her lawyer Sandi MacKinnon from Newfoundland Supreme Court in Corner Brook, where Brake has been living for the past few years.

The 26-year-old had pleaded not guilty to sexual assault and sexual interference, but was convicted following a trial last spring.

The offences happened in the summer of 2011 in a small town on the Avalon Peninsula. Brake had been the boy’s neighbour and was in a failing adult relationship when she began a sexual relationship with the pre-teen. It included intercourse and fondling. She also texted the boy several times.

It lasted two months before the boy’s mother got wind of what was going on and contacted police.

The boy wasn’t opposed to the sexual encounters with Brake. He testified at the trial that he had considered them to have been in a relationship and didn’t want to get her in trouble.

“He did not object … but that is irrelevant,” Butler said. “A person under the age of 16 cannot consent to sexual activity (under the law).

“It’s an act that constitutes child abuse. … This will obviously affect the boy’s life for years to come.”

The judge said while there was no violence involved, Brake violated the boy’s sexual integrity.

She noted that the boy struggled to answer sensitive and personal questions about sexual encounters with a woman 11 years his senior.

The judge pointed out that Brake didn’t seem to have taken responsibility for what she did. She said Brake didn’t take advantage of the counselling opportunities offered to her. Even when she was given the chance to speak in court, she did not express regret, Butler said.

The judge said the only mitigating factor was that Brake was a youthful, first offender.

She noted that the lack of discipline during her adolescence played a role in Brake going down the wrong path and making inappropriate decisions about relationships.

Butler acknowledged that Brake has lost custody of her children and has embarrassed her family.

“You will carry this stigma of having committed sexual assault and sexual interference,” the judge said.

Crown prosecutor Natalie Payne had requested a two- to three-year jail term.

Butler said a conditional sentence would not have been appropriate, as the punishment needed to reflect society’s abhorrence of such crimes.

As part of the sentence, Brake must submit a DNA sample and will have her name listed on the national sex offenders registry for 20 years.

Conditions of her probation include that she stay away from the boy and his family and that she comply with any counselling recommendations made by her probation officer.

The judge said she had considered making an order to have Brake stay away from any public place where there are children younger than 16, but noted it would interfere with her co-parenting.



Twitter: @TelyCourt

Geographic location: Corner Brook

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Recent comments

  • Anonoymous
    September 08, 2014 - 13:29

    Has anyone considered the possibility that she is not guilty, the possibility that when this child met her he could have had a bad family dynamic and became attached to this woman. The possibility that when he feared his comfort was going to leave him he would say anything to make this person stay around not realizing the consenquenses at the time? When it's a child's word against an adult in a case like this the child will always have the upper hand because of the extent of the situation, but so much more is involved in these cases, and the media will always make it look as bad as they can, and a lawyer will say anything to win a case. I know this is a hard case and a horrible thing to read when you see an article like this come up in the news, but you should never judge a person by what you read because the whole story is not always revealed, and in the future this woman's charges could be lifted once more of the story is brought to light. Humans can be blinded by the media and half truths, which makes this world a sad place at times.

  • Donna
    September 08, 2014 - 07:45

    No one cares who Ashley Brake is but the crime she "did" commit, however if she were a good parent this story would not exist and would not be available on the world wide Web for her children to see when they become teenagers and decide to Google their moms name just for fun and references to this are still available. People seem to forget this "Internet" thing means "forever". Let's all start "thinking" before we act.

  • Trish
    September 07, 2014 - 21:55

    Sandi MacKinnon represents all the child molesters. Why is that? I know one thing if I were a lawyer a child molester is the last thing I would be representing. I actually like to sleep with a good heart at night.

  • joe
    September 07, 2014 - 18:16

    She can smile all she wants till she gets locked up in which case she won't be smiling after. They don't take lightly to child predators on the inside. She may face alot of alone time in a dark room like paul bernardo does just to keep her protected from the others in there. If I did what she did and was going to jail for it I would be sobbing not smiling.

  • confused
    September 05, 2014 - 19:16

    Where is the harsher punishment for this women if this were a man it would be totally different. And another thing if she has lost custody I hope it remains that way for the sake of her children. What kind of person does a thing like this? How would she react if this was done to her children? I can only imagine the quality of life these children had. And the co-parenting bit I would hope that whoever has custody of these children keeps it that way.

    • Annoymous
      September 06, 2014 - 11:33

      If u believe that, all of who can judge a person from what u hear can go to hell. U don't even know who Ashley Brake really is. Only a few people really knows what actually happened . And why would the boy's parents let him come and play with a 2and 4 year old ? Ashley is a great mom too I seen it first hand. Ashley couldn't afford a lawyer so she had one appointed too her. And I'm sure if she could afford a good lawyer she would be aquitted of all charges . The reason she was probably smiling is cause she was so tired of all the crap, and now it finally over. she did not deserve this. And for the quality of life for her children was as good as any normal person can do. And the media don't even have her charges or sentencing correct. The wasten star before u post something make sure its right !!!!

  • anomonous
    September 05, 2014 - 19:00

    Adults who are attracted sexually to children are absolutely disgusting in my opinion.

  • My opinion
    September 05, 2014 - 14:54

    Where are the womens groups now. They would want more jail time if this was a female... double standards...

  • Jacqueline Carey
    September 05, 2014 - 13:49

    To Rosie Mullaley and the Western Star. The title for this article is absolutely unacceptable. Saying that this person was "having a sexual relationship" with a child totally belies the truth of the matter. This is child sexual abuse. It matters not that the child thought he was in a relationship - he was not old enough to consent and therefore this is a most serious crime. Please do not word things this way - it totally minimizes the seriousness of the matter at hand. As a social worker who spent half my career working with children who have been abuse - this really upset me. Please be more careful in the future.

  • Collin Kelloway
    September 05, 2014 - 11:16

    Just one. Just one year. Minimum sentencing in most parts is 10, but God forbid we sentence a woman for that long. Someone get me out of this country.

  • Equality
    September 05, 2014 - 10:30

    So, SHE is able to appear in court in St. John's via satellite as she is living in Corner Brook. This is not right! Then she gets a light sentence. If she was a man, she would be locked up for trial and/or hauled into court. A child rapist is a child rapist no matter what the gender. A child victim is a child victim no matter what the gender. There needs to be some equality here.

    • Thomas
      September 05, 2014 - 12:31

      You point out that the child was raped. This was not the case as it was found in court that the child did not resist. He was a child lured into sexual encounters with this woman. Being a child he was abused. Rape is a horrible crime. Child abuse, in my own opinion is more disgusting than murder. You are correct however - the penalty was very light given the seriousness of the crime and her lack of any remorse for her actions.

    • Christine
      September 05, 2014 - 13:08

      Yes, the child was raped. It was not a typical violent rape, but statuary rape. He's 12 and doesn't have the mental capacity to understand how gross it is for this 26 year old woman to take advantage of him because she had bad past relationships. I hate sexism and this is clearly a case of it. She'd have no access to her kids, not co-parenting. She'd be gone away for years, not just one.

    • Jacqueline Carey
      September 05, 2014 - 13:56

      Thomas, you state that 'this was not the case as it was found in court that the child did not resist.' Under Canadian law, rape is not a word that is used, it's sexual assault. Further to that rape or sexual assault (whatever you call it) is OFTEN carried out on a person who does not resist. People have a variety of reasons for not resisting. The act can, of course, be carried out by physical force but very often where the person is under threat or manipulation, or with a person who is incapable of valid consent (as is the case here.) Folks who have been 'raped' or 'sexually assaulted' often stay quiet and complaint with the offender to save their own lives. It is not more or less an assault if someone struggles.