A Yukon man has been sentenced to five years in prison for sexual offences involving four Indigenous girls.
Graham Howard Tracey, who was 52 when charged, was sentenced for a series of offences he committed in a Yukon community between Aug. 7, 2018 and Aug. 7, 2021. The victims were no more than nine-years-old at the time.
APTN News is not revealing more information about the victims as there is a publication ban in place.
“It is my sincere hope that you begin to actively engage in treatment,” territorial court Judge Karen Ruddy said when delivering her decision on Jan. 23.
“You owe that to the victims of these offenses. You owe it to this community to ensure that you do not present the risk of reoffending.”
The families haven’t spoken publicly about the sentence.
Tracey pled guilty to three counts of touching a person under the age of 16 for a sexual purpose in March 2022 which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years.
While Tracey pled guilty for offences involving three victims, he and the Crown agreed to present aggravating information during sentencing involving a 4th victim, adding additional penalties to his sentence.
In addition to prison time, Ruddy ordered Tracey be subject to several conditions, including registering as a sex offender for a period of 20 years and providing samples of his blood for DNA testing.
A sentencing hearing was postponed for several months as Tracey suffered a stroke in June 2022 requiring hospitalization. Ruddy acknowledged the delay in proceedings had caused frustration for the families and First Nation’s community where the crimes occurred.
She likewise recognized the severe trauma and emotional impacts Tracey’s crimes placed on the victims, their families and their First Nation’s community.
“There can be no question that these offenses have had an extremely serious and harmful effect on the lives of each of these victims,” noted Crown prosecutor Noel Sinclair during a prior Jan. 10 sentencing hearing.
“The ripples that expand outward from this kind of reprehensible conduct are incalculable, really.”
During the Jan. 10 proceedings Sinclair sought a sentence totalling four to six years.
Defense lawyer David Tarnow said Tracey wanted to go to federal prison outside of Yukon in order to access intensive therapeutic treatment, though he argued for a considerably lighter sentence of two years.
Tarnow touched on Tracey’s ongoing mental health issues, including a major depressive disorder, his background of steady employment and character references from his wife and sister.
“He’s made some grievous mistakes and he’s going to be punished. But in my respectful submission, to put him in the penitentiary for four to six years is just not appropriate,” he said.
‘The blame is Mr. Tracey’s alone’
Ruddy detailed several aggravating factors in her decision, including the fact all four victims were particularly vulnerable due to their age, gender and Indigenous ancestry.
She further noted Tracey assaulted multiple victims and had a moderate likelihood of reoffending.
Ruddy also referenced a December 2022 pre-sentence report that indicated that while Tracey expressed some remorse for his actions, he is “more focused on the impact his actions have had on his own life than that of his victims.”
She likewise took mitigating factors into account, including Tracey’s lack of a criminal record and his guilty pleas.
While she acknowledged Tracey was considered an upstanding and hardworking person prior to the charges, she called the submission a “double edged sword.”
“It was this very reputation of Mr.
Tracy’s that led to these families to trust him with their children and that allowed him to portray that trust and victimize those children in terms of assessing the degree of moral blameworthiness,” she said.
Ruddy acknowledged the high level of involvement of the victims’ family members and First Nation’s community in the sentencing process and her decision making.
“I can only hope that the families and victims find some comfort in bring bringing these proceedings to a close…and that each of the adults may come to understand that they are not to blame for what happened. The blame is Mr. Tracy’s alone.”