City man guilty of molestation
John Bertoli gets house arrest for acts against stepdaughter
A prominent Kamloops volunteer coach was placed on six months of house arrest Thursday after pleading guilty to molesting his stepdaughter over a period of years more than a decade-and-a-half ago.
John Bertoli, who has coached boys’ and girls’ hockey and lacrosse at a high levels locally, said he’s sorry for what he did and takes full responsibility.
Court heard Bertoli called police last summer to come clean, saying he molested his stepdaughter 20 years ago.
Police records show he had been investigated for such an accusation 15 years ago, but the matter wasn’t pursued after the complainant his step-daughter recanted.
Crown prosecutor Alexandra Janse said the victim, who now has children of her own, said the inappropriate touching occurred over a period of five years, when she was between the ages of six and 11.
“It was predominantly him touching her in inappropriate places,” Janse said.
“He made her touch him as well, and she said he made her perform fellatio on him.
“The abuse stopped when she was 11 years old, approximately when she started puberty.”
Janse said the abuse would usually occur while Bertoli and his step-daughter were sitting on a couch watching TV.
“He stated that she was an affectionate girl, and she never said no,” Janse said.
While Bertoli pleaded guilty, he still has a different recollection of the specific offences and the time-frame in which they occurred.
“He maintains that there was no penetration, no oral sex. It was only sexual touching,” Janse said, adding that Bertoli said the incidents occurred over a period of two or three years, rather than five.
“Despite his admission, it obviously took 15 to 20 years for those admissions to come,” Janse said.
When asked by Kamloops provincial court Judge Stella Frame whether he had anything to say, Bertoli stood and apologized.
“I just wanted to say I’m remorseful for my actions and I do take full responsibility for it,” he said.
Frame placed Bertoli on an 18-month conditional sentence, the first six of which are to be served under house arrest.
The terms of his conditional sentence include orders barring him from being near a swimming pool, school, playground or park where children might be present and preventing him from volunteering with children under 16.
Frame also ordered Bertoli to surrender a sample of his DNA to police and register as a sex offender.
Following the completion of his conditional sentence, Bertoli will be placed on two years of probation.