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Canadian Sikh fined $415,000 for sexually abusing niece

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This is sickening - the man and his wife should be made to rot in jail for the rest of their life.

Canadian Sikh priest fined $415,000 for sexually abusing niece.

Monday, June 30th, 2008

News Source: in.news.yahoo.com

VANCOUVER: A court here has ordered a Sikh priest and his wife to pay $415,000 in damages to their niece for sexually abusing her for over a decade.

Karamjeet Kaur, who is 50 now and known as Vicky Waters after her marriage to a white man, was sexually abused by the 'granthi' who along with his wife adopted her following her mother's death in an accident.

In its judgment Thursday, the provincial British Columbia Supreme Court said Joginder Singh Bains, now 77, began sexually abusing Kaur when she was just eight on their farm at Fraser Valley near Vancouver.

Judge Nancy Morrison said the adopted girl was subjected to oral and anal sex, and also beatings. To prevent pregnancy when she reached puberty, the couple had an IUD inserted in her.

The assaults took place over a period of 10 years and began when Waters was eight years old.

Waters, 50, told the court how she had pleaded for help from her aunt, Darshan, and a grandmother after Bains began sexually assaulting her, but her pleas went unanswered.

Darshan and her grandmother colluded to have a doctor insert an IUD device to prevent pregnancy at the onset of puberty.

Morrison said the inference was that Darshan knew what was happening and wanted to ensure "there would be no pregnancy or discovery of on-going abuse."

"Both defendants played a significant part in her losses. The young plaintiff was present in their home, slept in their bedroom and at times, in their bed with them, when sexual assaults took place," the insertion of the IUD into an unknowing 12- or 13-year-old is, as I have stated before, appalling," said Judge Morrison. "She was denied aid by her aunt, her father's younger sister to whom she turned to for help on two occasions. This child was vulnerable as she had recently lost her mother in a tragic accident," said Morrison in her written reasons.

Waters testified that the sexual assaults - also committed by a second uncle who knew she was being sexually abused - had caused severe psychological problems during her life.

"The plaintiff's inability to control her emotions, her loss of enjoyment of life, the interference in the development of interpersonal and sexual relationships and her ongoing mood swings and depression are amply proven by the evidence," said Morrison.

The judge dismissed the defence's argument that damages totalling $70,000 be assessed as the Bains's had lost face in the community, nor did she accept that they were of modest means.

"There is evidence the defendants have operated a dairy farm for many years. There is property jointly owned that is assessed in excess of $1 million," said Morrison.

Waters' counsel had argued Joginder Bains deserved a substantial penalty since at the time the assaults began he was 35 years old, was married and portrayed himself as an educated man, esteemed by his community and within his religion. He had the status of a "Giani" - a position of privilege within the Sikh faith and had denied the assaults and had shown no remorse.

Morrison agreed and said Bains continued "what can only be regarded as arrogant and callous conduct towards the plaintiff."

Bains, one of seven children, arrived from India in 1961 with a religious degree in the Punjabi language, which earned him the respected East Indian title of giani. He worked two successful dairy farms and bought multiple properties over the years.

Waters said once she launched the public lawsuit her prominent relatives disowned her and made her an outcast. But Morrison praised her courage. "It is clear she not only wants to obtain justice in her own case but also to serve as an example to others who may not be as willing to go through the trauma and uncertainty," Morrison wrote.

"She also seeks an end to the anxiety, shame and humiliation that she has experienced and believes it is important for her own healing to be able to speak freely. It is important for her to speak out for the benefit of others who may be experiencing the same trauma."

Damages were assessed at $325,000 for general and aggravated damages, $80,000 in punitive damages and $10,000 for future care. The years of abuse have left Karamjeet with low self-esteem, depression and nightmares, the judge said. Morrison added: "The plaintiff's problems are many. First and foremost, she has suffered a loss of innocence and the loss of a normal childhood. The insertion of the IUD into an unknowing 12 or 13 year old is appalling."

The judge rejected the Sikh couple's argument for waiving the compensation amount because of their "modest means".

Now a mother of two, Karamjeet left the Bains' dairy farm after finishing her high school.

The disgraced couple are bound to face the wrath of the Indo-Canadian community and become the theme of radio and TV talk shows in the coming days.

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This is absolutely sickening.

"She was denied aid by her aunt, her father's younger sister to whom she turned to for help on two occasions"

The main issue here (in terms of what the community at large need to commence work on ASAP and very aggresively at that too) is this repeated theme of 'suffering in silence' when it comes to abuse and depression, particularly with regard to women.

This is not the first case involving such sickening acts conducted by a 'Granthi' and sadly, I doubt it will be the last, however it is down to the community at large to wake up and stop turning a blind eye to such pleas for help, which is all too common.

In the UK, it is frequently reported that 'Asian' women have higher rates of depression and 'self-harm'. Despite the current media frenzy against Muslims in the UK, the reality is that recent cases of 'asian' females suffering in silence have largely been Sikh, contrary to the positive self-image that many Sikhs would like to believe about themselves. It is high time that Gurdwaras and Community leaders engage this issue head-on, rather than wasting time on arguing over non-issues such as dress codes and whether or not Sikhs can eat meat, which seem to be the only bloody things Gurdwaras, Babas, Committees and others seem to care about!

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