A man with a decades-long history of sexual offences, including several in New Westminster, is facing an indeterminate prison sentence after receiving a rare dangerous offender designation in a recent ruling.
James Douglas Caston, 57, was most recently arrested in Vancouver on Feb. 10, 2016 after he molested a five-year-old boy in a washroom of the Downtown Vancouver public library, where the boy was on a field trip.
At the time, Caston was on a two-year peace bond barring him from being around children and from being in New Westminster, among other conditions. That peace bond was entered in February 2015 following a June 2, 2013 incident in New Westminster in which he allegedly molested a seven-year-old boy with autism, something he has not admitted to and has not been convicted for.
After that arrest, Caston was found to be in possession of “a pink dildo and nudist magazines which contained photographs of pre-pubescent children,” according to the dangerous offender ruling, which was made on June 21 this year and published online this week.
Caston was supposed to be at an appointment with his psychiatrist at the time of the 2016 sexual assault, but he had called earlier that day to say he could not attend.
According to the ruling, Caston told police he had visited the library 30 times in the previous two months and was “trolling” for victims. When it was suggested that the five-year-old was not his first victim at the library, Caston replied, “No, it wasn’t, but I’m not gonna say.”
Dangerous offender statuses are “intended to protect all Canadians from the most dangerous violent and sexual predators in the country,” according to the Public Safety Canada website.
It’s a rare designation in Canadian law, reserved for those who show little sign of rehabilitation, and it can come with a sentence with no defined ending.
Between the creation of the legislation in 1977 and the 2016/17 fiscal year, only 855 people had received the designation throughout the country. By comparison, there were nearly 418,000 admissions into Canada’s correctional services in 2016/17.
Prior to his current conviction, Caston had seven convictions on record, starting with an Aug. 4, 1984 sexual assault at age 22 in New West.
That was followed by another sexual assault just a few years later in Vancouver, a minor theft charge in 1988, possession of child pornography in 1998 in Vancouver and sexual interference with a minor in New West in 2000.
He also has two public mischief convictions in Vancouver and Chilliwack in 2000 and 2001.
All of his sexual offences involved young boys, including one three-year-old boy in New West.
Five of his offences were committed while he was on a court order, including the 2016 sex assault and two other sexual offences.
Caston’s sentences have ranged from 18 months of probation to five months in jail.
Caston was first aroused by young boys as when he was around 13 years old, according to a 1987 presentence report, which could result in Caston “becoming fixated in their arousal,” provincial court Judge Adrian Brooks wrote in his ruling.
Brooks did note two long periods without criminal offences on the part of Caston, which detracted from a dangerous offender designation.
But that entrenched pedophilia, paired with psychiatrists noting anti-social traits such as manipulation throughout his interactions with the justice system, increase the likelihood of reoffending, Brooks wrote.
“Thirty-five years of Mr. Caston’s behaviour has not altered that conclusion,” he wrote.
“The 2016 offence also occurred at the same time as the intensive supervision and support that ought to have reduced the likelihood of his offending. It did not. As Mr. Caston said in his self-management plan … ‘I would likely still offend if the opportunity presented itself.’ ”
Brooks ultimately found that Caston had shown a lack in his ability to control his urges and a high likelihood of reoffending, justifying a dangerous offender designation.
With that designation, Brooks sentenced Caston to an indeterminate sentence in prison.