Former Oujé-Bougoumou band councilor Lance Cooper was given a conditional sentence of house arrest for one year and 24 months probation after being convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year old boy in the victim’s own home.
The sentence, handed down in O-J June 12, means Cooper will be under house arrest for the first 12 months of his probation.
Because the January 30 incident happened in the youth’s home, Cooper was also convicted of breaking and entering.
Under his conditions, he must keep the peace, be on good behaviour and inform the court or probation officer of a change of address, according to O-J Police Chief Harry Shari.
He also cannot consume alcohol or drugs for 24 months, cannot have a cellular phone or pager or any other communication device.
Once the 12-month house arrest period is over, he will be on a curfew from 10 pm to 7 am until the end of his sentence.
He is obligated to register himself in the 15 days after the sentence was handed down in the National Sex Offender Registry. He also has to provide a DNA sample and has to notify any potential employers of his criminal history when seeking a job.
“That’s the first time that I’ve heard of someone from O-J getting convicted of sexual assault,” said Shari, who has been on the force since 1998 and the interim Chief since January. “I don’t think it was a fair sentence. For what he did and to only get house arrest, that’s not fair to the family.
“I mean, he doesn’t even have to serve jail time, but this incident is going to stick with the youth for the rest of his life,” Shari added. “I think he should have gotten a harsher sentence. I got so many calls from people who were upset about it.”