Judge Robin Baird said the Crown’s request of two to three years in prison was “too lenient”
the Vancouver Sun
29 August 2012
By Jacob Zinn, Surrey Now
Former Global BC reporter Ron Bencze
Photograph by: Global BC , Handout
METRO VANCOUVER — Former Global BC television reporter Ron Bencze was sentenced in Surrey Provincial Court Tuesday to four years in jail for sexually assaulting a young boy.
At the sentencing, Judge Robin Baird said the Crown’s request of two to three years in prison was “too lenient”, and his decision was greeted with sighs of relief from people in the public gallery. The defence had asked for an 18- to 24-month conditional sentence followed by probation, or an intermittent sentence.
Bencze, 45, will also have to register as a sex offender and is prohibited from using electronic devices to contact minors for the next 10 years and from going to such public areas as parks, schools, playgrounds, community centres and daycare centres for the next 20 years.
Bencze was arrested in January, 2011, and later charged with nine sexual offences related to three children. He pleaded guilty in July to one count of sexual assault involving a boy, who is now 14. The offending began when the boy was around six years old.
Bencze was initially charged with three counts of sexual assault, four counts of sexual interference, two counts of invitation to sexual touching involving three people under the age of 16 and one count of breaching his bail conditions. The remaining charges were stayed by the Crown following sentencing.
Bencze has been on bail for 18 months, unable to live at home with his wife and three children and only able to visit his children while supervised.
The sexual acts between Bencze and the boy included sexual touching and acts, as well as sexually explicit text messages.
Judge Baird read statements the boy and his mother made previously regarding the offending.
“When the abuse began, I was young and it was ongoing for years through my adolescence,” wrote the boy. “I feel that I have missed out on a childhood that was meant for me, not the tainted one that I have experienced.”
He wrote, “I’m trying to live and behave as a normal, average teenager,” but added that he has had troubles at home, school and with making friends.
“Our son has lost his innocence,” wrote the boy’s mother. “Our son is embarrassed by this subject and has had his pride taken away.”
During a psychiatric evaluation when Bencze was asked about the relationship with the boy Bencze said he “wanted to please him” and that being with him made Bencze become “more of a child.”
“I think the complainant filled a void,” Bencze said at the time.
He later acknowledged the moral impact of his actions and admitted to being angry with himself for thinking such contact was OK. However, he also claimed that the complainant initiated the sexual relationship.
“The level of the accused’s recklessness and abandon is alarming,” said Judge Baird. He noted that Bencze had no prior criminal record and said, “He was a normal adult with a normal background who should have known better.”
Reporter pleads guilty to sexual assault
The Toronto Globe and Mail
27 July 2012
Ron Bencze accepts one charge despite allegations of incidents involving three minors over 11 years
Former Global TV reporter Ron Bencze has pleaded guilty to one count of sexually assaulting a minor.
The judge reserved his decision on sentencing until after Aug. 27, saying he needed more time to review the case before making a decision that would have serious repercussions.
“The court faces a difficult balancing act in determining an appropriate sentence – taking into account the need to denounce this type of behaviour [and] at the same time take into account the possibility of rehabilitation for an accused person,” said Crown spokesperson Neil MacKenzie.
Mr. Bencze, 45, had been charged with sexual assault, sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching. The alleged incidents occurred over about eleven years – from 2001 to last year – and involved three minors. Last year, Mr. Bencze pleaded not guilty to all nine charges.
In exchange for Thursday’s guilty plea, Crown counsel stayed the remaining eight charges.
“The charge that he’s pleaded guilty to represents the most significant allegations that were made against Mr. Bencze,” Mr. MacKenzie said.
The court heard that the sexual assault spanned about seven years and started when the boy was seven or eight years old. Mr. Bencze engaged in masturbation as well as oral and manual sex with the boy at Mr. Bencze’s house in Surrey. When the boy was 14, his mother discovered explicit text messages on his cellphone between him and Mr. Bencze.
A publication ban protects the victim’s identity, but his victim impact statement was read aloud in court. The teen said he finds it difficult to trust himself and others in certain situations and that he had a tainted childhood.
The Crown recommended between two and three years in prison and adding Mr. Bencze’s name to the sex offender registry. Defence counsel is seeking a conditional sentence of 18 to 24 months.
Mr. Bencze had worked for Global TV since 2004. Before joining the network, he was a crime reporter for radio News 1130. The reporter left Global TV last year, shortly after his arrest.
In court, his lawyer argued a long jail term would prevent him from being able to support his family, which is already hard since he can not secure employment and has had to start his own software and technology company.
His lawyer read an apology from his client. “I’m not asking for forgiveness,” read Mr. Bencze’s statement. “I will work hard to redeem myself and try to regain the trust I have squandered.”
Global fires charged reporter
The Windsor Star
19 April 2012
Television reporter Ron Bencze, facing several sex crime charges involving children, is no longer employed by Global News.
Ian Haysom, news director at the Burnaby, B.C.-based station, released a statement Monday saying: “After an internal investigation and review, Ron Bencze is no longer employed with Global BC. We are unable to make any further comments.”
Last week he was charged with two counts of sexual assault and two counts of sexual interference after Surrey RCMP said two more alleged victims came forward.
The 44-year-old is expected to appear in Surrey provincial court in May.
In January, Bencze was charged with one count of sexual assault, two counts of sexual interference and two counts of invitation to sexual touching in relation to a child under 16 years old.
Breach of bail alleged
The Victoria Times-Colonist
17 November 2011
Former Global TV reporter Ron Bencze has been charged with breaching bail conditions to stay away from young people and areas where young people gather, Surrey RCMP said Wednesday.
Bencze was observed near a school in Surrey on Oct. 20, said RCMP spokesman Cpl. Drew Grainger. The bail restrictions stem from charges Bencze faces for sexual offences related to three alleged victims under the age of 16.
Bencze, 44, has pleaded not guilty to those charges and is set to go to trial in January. –
Two more minors allege reporter sex assault
The Vancouver Province
13 April 2011
Two more minors have come forward with allegations of sexual assault and interference against Global TV reporter Ron Bencze, Surrey RCMP said Tuesday.
Bencze, 44, is charged with four new counts of sexual assault and sexual interference with persons under the age of 16, in addition to five sex-related counts he was charged with in January.
“These charges came as part of our ongoing investigation, pleas to the public for information and from our investigators as they continue to interview children who were known to be associated to Mr. Bencze,” RCMP Cpl. Drew Grainger said Tuesday.
Bencze has been released from custody on a number of conditions, including not having contact with his alleged victims or any young persons.
His next court appearance is scheduled for Thursday.
Despite the additional charges, Grainger said, it’s “highly unlikely” Bencze’s present conditions of release will change before his court appearance.
“It’s our duty as police to protect the public and, if we really felt the public was at risk in a situation like this, the suspect would have been held in custody,” he said.
Bencze is suspended from Global TV without pay and has vowed to fight the charges.
Global B.C. reporter suspended with pay; Ron Bencze barred from living at home
The Vancouver Province
20 January 2011
Global B.C. reporter Ron Bencze has been suspended with pay following allegations that he committed sexual offences involving a person under 16.
Bencze, 44, is charged with one count of sexual assault and two counts each of sexual interference of a person under 16 and invitation to sexual touching of a person under 16. The offences are alleged to have been committed over a 10-year period from 2001 to 2011.
“Ron has stated he will vigorously defend himself against the charges. We are unable to make any further comment,” Global B.C. news director Ian Haysom said Wednesday in a brief statement.
Bencze was arrested on Sunday and released on bail following a court appearance in Surrey on Tuesday.
There are 15 conditions on Bencze’s release, including staying away from parks, public swimming areas, daycares, schools, playgrounds or community centres; working or volunteering anywhere he will be in a position of trust or authority to a person under 16; and not being in the presence of anyone under 16 except in the company of another adult.
He is also prohibited from communicating with his alleged victim or the teen’s family or going within 500 metres of their home.
Bencze is also not to go to his own home, except on one occasion with a police officer to retrieve his belongings. He will reside at a Langley address in the meantime.
The award-winning journalist has been a reporter with the station since 2004.
His next court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 7. firstname.lastname@example.org