Four-year sentence for sexual assault of young girl

Bill Chamakese after his sentencing hearing. Arthur White-Crummey/Daily Herald

A man found guilty of sexual assault against a pre-teen girl was sentenced to four years in prison Monday.

Bill M. Chamakese, 56, was convicted of assaulting the girl over several years, when she was between the ages of seven and 12. At least some of the acts involved penetration. Justice N.G. Gabrielson noted that the repeated attacks had forced the young victim into hospital, where she was treated for suicidal thoughts and cutting.

He said he considered the crimes “particularly grave.” Chamakese was in a position of trust and authority over the complainant, who cannot be identified due to a publication ban.

Chamakese sat quietly in the prisoner’s box throughout the judge’s ruling, his head hung low.

Gabrielson said that Chamakese is the father of nine children. Some of his children slept in his bedroom on Whitefish First Nation, the justice said. The victim in this offence, however, is not a blood relation of Chamakese.

The Justice admitted that Chamakese has had a difficult life. Both of his parents spent time in residential school, and drank themselves to death. Chamakese was also briefly in a residential school. He experienced racism and discrimination, the justice said.

But Gabrielson stressed that none of that can excuse the crimes he committed. He sentenced Chamakese to four years, with credit for time served. Chamakese will also have to register as a sex offender.