The former driver for ParaTranspo had earlier pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault. The 26-year-old victim is developmentally challenged, suffers from cerebral palsy, and is confined to a wheelchair.
Victor Fuentes, 54, had worked for Ottawa's bus service for the ill and disabled for 12 years before losing his job after he committed the sexual assault.
In sentencing the veteran driver, Ontario Court of Justice Judge Ann Alder said she would have imposed a longer prison term had the first offender not pleaded guilty, shown remorse, and indicated a willingness to receive help.
In sentencing Fuentes, the Ottawa Citizen reports Alder said, "He was fully aware of what he was doing and to whom. She relied on Mr. Fuentes as a ParaTranspo driver to safely drive her to achieve dignity and independence. But he took that and much more from her."
CBC reports that at an earlier hearing, the Crown had asked for a four year sentence. Fuentes' lawyer argued the El Salvador native, who came to Canada in 1990, should receive a reformatory sentence of between 18 months and two years less a day. The lawyer argued Fuentes suffers from post traumatic stress disorder as a result of being detained and tortured in his native country. Alder rejected the argument that whatever happened to him in El Salvador had anything to do with the crime.
The Ottawa Sun reports that in May 2011, Fuentes picked the victim up from an art class she was taking. Instead of driving her back to her group home, he pulled the bus over on Prince of Wales Dr. He told her to lie down in the back and began to kiss and fondle her. He then raped and sodomized his disabled passenger.
Fuentes told the victim not to tell anyone because he would be fired, but she did. Fuentes' DNA was found in the woman's underwear.
The former driver was well liked and respected by passengers. Sue Clark-Wittenberg, who uses the service along with her husband, was quoted in Metro as saying, "This is a horrendous and heinous crime that should not have (been) committed by someone who has a trust of taking care of vulnerable people and taking them from Point A to Point B."
Clark-Wittenberg plans to attend the next public meeting of Ottawa's transportation committee. She wants to question ParaTranspo's screening procedures for drivers and demand cameras be installed in buses.
In addition to the penitentiary sentence, Fuentes is subject to conditions. He is not to have any contact with the victim and her mother and is not to possess weapons for a period of 10 years. He will also be registered as a sex offender for 20 years.