Sarnia Observer


Nov. 18,1995

A 53 year old Sarnia man was sentenced Friday to serve three months in jail for sexually assaulting an 18 year old woman after a night of drinking and strip poker.

In sentencing Ricardo Vani, of 816 Michigan Ave., general division court Justice William Higgins said Mr. Vani "allowed his wishful thinking" to obscure the "real status" of her defenselessness when he assaulted the victim as she slept.

"There was never any doubt in my mind that she did not give consent" he said.

Justice Higgins said he hoped the sentence would make women aware of the potential for being taken advantage of under similar circumstances.

During the trial, held in October, court was told Mr. Vani invited the victim and another male and female back to his house after a night of drinking at Fat Moe's bar and grill.

After stopping after hours for a pizza, the foursome went back to Mr. Vani's residence where they played strip poker and drank homemade wine.

The victim testified she got sick in the bathroom around 5 am and then passed out in a bedroom fully clothed. She woke up later in the morning to a "burning sensation" in her vagina while it was still dark out, and saw a figure of a large man on top of her before she passed out again.

She woke up a few hours later when it was light out and found Mr. Vani in bed beside her. She immediately remembered what had occurred and went to another bedroom where her friend was sleeping and began crying.

The victim said she tried to forget about what happened and had moved to London to put it behind her. However, she " got angrier " while in London and eventually came back to Sarnia to file charges. "I want him to go through this," she said explaining the difficulties she has had living with the incident.

Judge Higgins recommended Mr. Vani serve the sentence intermittently on weekends for the purpose of retaining his employment. Mr. Vani was also placed on probation for two years and prohibited from having in his possession any firearms.

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