Family friend found guilty of sex assault against teenage boy

Saskatchewan Provincial Court in Prince Albert. Herald File Photo

After a two-day trial that hinged on a complicated timeline, Misael Vargas has been found guilty of sneaking into the bedroom of a 16-year-old boy and sexually assaulting him.

Vargas sat through Wednesday’s verdict with a stoic expression, a translator rendering the judge’s words into his native Spanish. He will now face a sentencing hearing on November 21.

In the morning of September 17, Vargas was visiting a longtime friend at a home in Prince Albert. As dawn was just breaking, he opened the bedroom door of the man’s teenage son.

What happened next prompted a call to 911 and a visit to the police station that very morning. The boy told a police officer that he was sleeping when he heard footsteps coming toward his bed. He noticed Vargas, but thought nothing of it.

But Vargas sat down on the bed. He said he was drunk, and started kissing and massaging the boy. He proceeded to unzip his own pants and take out his penis.

“I understood what he wanted,” the teen later told the court. “But I said no.”

The teen said he pushed Vargas away, but the man kept coming back. Judge Hugh Harradence said he was satisfied with the victim’s account of Vargas’s crime, which he summed up during his decision.

“He exposed his penis and asked the youth to perform oral sex on him, and then performed oral sex on the complainant for a short period of time,” Harradence said.

In one of the more bizarre episodes that morning, Vargas then laid two $20 bills under the teen’s pillow.

“We can do this when we are alone,” he remembered Vargas saying in Spanish. “Don’t tell anybody.”

The defence presented no evidence during trial. But Vargas’s lawyer argued that the victim’s timeline didn’t match the testimony of his father, who claimed his friend left the residence at 6:30 a.m. His son said the assault happened shortly before 7:20 a.m.

Judge Hugh Harradence said that “apparent contradiction” led him to carefully examine the evidence. But he decided that it wasn’t damning enough to overrule the teen’s testimony, which was otherwise “articulate and clear.”

“I’m satisfied that both the complainant and his father may have been mistaken about the time,” Harradence said. “But this does not cause me to doubt the substance of the evidence.”

Vargas is one of two brothers facing sexual assault charges, for separate incidents, in Prince Albert’s provincial courthouse.

Mariano Vargas, who is also charged with sexual interference for allegedly abusing a child, arrived late in court to support his brother. He wore a grey suit and removed his leather cowboy hat as he entered.

He is due to appear in court for his own matter on September 25.