Campus assailant sentenced to four years

By Heidi Stobert

The man who beat and sexually assaulted a woman at the University of Calgary in November 2007 was recently sentenced to more than four years in prison. However, he will be back on Calgary streets in only two years.

On Nov. 24, 2007, a young woman was followed from a downtown LRT station to campus by then 43-year-old Derek Ross Calf-Child. When the woman left the train, he followed her and threw her to the ground. She was punched in the face and fondled by the accused, but her screams were heard by a university security guard and professor who chased and tackled the accused when he attempted to flee the scene.

Calf-Child was arrested and charged with sexual assault causing bodily harm. Last week he was sentenced to 56 months in prison by Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Bryan Mahoney. Mahoney granted Calf-Child double credit for time he has already served in the Calgary Remand Centre. Calf-Child will serve two more years in jail and three years probation.

While in custody Calf-Child was recorded in his jail cell saying that he wanted to suck the woman’s toes and that he would go after the victim again if he were to see her on the train, according to a March 9 Calgary Herald article.

“I needed a woman,” he said. “Every time I ask somebody to go out with me, they don’t want to.”

Jocelyn Kelln, a program assistant from the U of C’s Women’s Resource Centre, expressed her concerns about the troubling nature of this case. In most sexual assault cases the victim knows their attacker, but in this particular case the attacker was unknown to the victim. She also pointed out that the motivation behind this type of attack isn’t just about fulfilling the sexual needs of the attacker and this case in particular is a perfect example.

“The judge in this case specifically noted that the accused was motivated by his anger against women, illustrating . . . that sexual violence is more about power and control rather than about sexual gratification,” said Kelln.

Third-year communication and culture student Jacqueline Smith thought the sentence was too lenient.

“[Calf-Child’s] sentence definitely says something about our justice system and where their priorities lie,” she said.

That Calf-Child will be out of jail in just two years and that he admitted he would want to attack again leaves an uneasy feeling for students and the public.

“[The police] can just catch him again,” said Calgarian Michelle Fong. “Unfortunately someone will probably suffer for it.”

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