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An Alberta man who has ‘married’ 15-year-old child convicted of sexual assault

Posted in Canada, Featured

Published on July 27, 2020 with No Comments


Michel Bouvier, 59, acquitted on rare criminal charge of marrying person under 16.

The last time Ashley went trick or treating was in 2016. She was 15.

The teen returned to a house in Hinton, Alta., and sat down on the bed to sort through her candy. That’s when the 55-year old man she would come to think of as her husband assaulted her for the first time.

“He punched me in the teeth and my body was so in shock,” Ashley said. “It was blood everywhere and I kept crying and crying.”

The following day, Michel Frank Bouvier staged a ceremony that he led Ashley to believe was a Cree wedding. The ritual included the use of a pipe, kneeling on cushions, praying, exchanging feathers and kissing.

“That’s the beginning of the abusive torture relationship with him, all of six months of him and I together,” Ashley told an RCMP officer years later.

The abuse ended in May 2017 when RCMP officers found them together on ceremonial grounds outside Hinton. Ashley had been reported missing by her family and was returned to them.

Bouvier, who was unlawfully at large on a long-term supervision order, was taken into custody and charged with possession of a prohibited firearm.

But Ashley wouldn’t tell police about Bouvier’s assaults for another two years.

After she was interviewed by an RCMP investigator at the Zebra Child Protection Centre in April 2019, Bouvier was charged with eight criminal offences, including two counts of sexual assault, two counts of assault, aggravated assault and two counts of uttering death threats.

He was also accused of taking part in a marriage ceremony with a person under the age of 16.

In Hinton provincial court this month, the now 59-year-old Bouvier was convicted of two counts of sexual assault, assault causing bodily harm and assault, but acquitted on the rare charge of marrying a child under 16.

The Crown wants to have him declared a dangerous offender. Judge Rob Shaigec ordered a psychiatric assessment that could pave the way for the dangerous offender hearing.

For two days, Bouvier forced her to have sex. Then Bouvier decided to take the teen to Hinton. He told her to lie to her grandmother and say she was going next door. He waited at the end of the road for her and they drove off.

“We were thinking, you know, we’re in love, running away from everyone because our love is strong enough,” Ashley said, according to a transcript of the interview.

Her family first reported her missing on Oct. 13, 2016.

Over the next seven months, police found her five times, bringing her home only to leave again. Each time she was found by police, she denied that Bouvier had engaged in any criminal wrongdoing.

“She admitted to lying,” Shaigec said in a written decision related to the case. “In fact, her evidence was that she lied several times to multiple police officers over many months.” 

The abuse escalated. Bouvier was jealous. He convinced Ashley he could read her mind. He insisted his ring finger would “burn” when she was thinking about another man. 

“There would be times where I would count days to see if he didn’t hit me,” Ashley told the investigator. “The furthest was one week.”

 

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