Prison term for ‘violent sexual offender’ convicted of fourth sex crime

Travis Menacho had already been convicted of three sex crimes when he was released in 2016. Less than two years later, he reoffended.

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When Travis Menacho, a convicted child sex offender from Tulita, was released from North Slave Correctional Complex (NSCC) in August 2016, Northwest Territories RCMP took the rare step in warning residents across the territory of his risk to reoffend.

Less than two years later, Menacho did.

Deemed a “violent sexual offender” by Mounties in 2016, Menacho pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a woman in Yellowknife in May of last year – his fourth conviction for a crime of sexual violence.

RCMP photo. A photo of Travis Menacho, 29, accompanied a rare NWT-wide warning from RCMP following his release in August of 2016. Police cautioned “all residents” Menacho posed “risk of significant harm to the public.” Less than two years later, he sexually assaulted a sleeping victim in Yellowknife.

On the evening of May 23, 2018, the court heard during a sentencing hearing for the 29-year-old in NWT territorial court Friday, Menacho was drinking with a woman and another man at his hotel in downtown Yellowknife.

The woman passed out, and awoke to Menacho having sexual intercourse with her.

The victim tried to fight Menacho off. She screamed and cried for him to stop.

She reached desperately for the other man – passed out just feet away from her while she was being sexually assaulted.

Menacho placed a pillow over her face as she struggled and screamed.

The victim kneed Menacho in the groin and was able to escape. She walked to the Yellowknife RCMP detachment and reported the assault before being taken to Stanton Territorial Hospital, where a sexual assault kit was administered.

Menacho was arrested at his hotel hours later. A used condom, seized during the execution of a police search warrant, yielded the victim’s DNA. Menacho’s DNA was matched to semen located on a vaginal swab and on the victim’s underwear.

He has been in custody since arrest in May.

Fourth conviction for sex crimes

“He took advantage of a sleeping victim while he was on probation,” said Crown prosecutor Jeannie Scott, noting Menacho’s lengthy criminal record as one of the most aggravating factors of the May sex assault.

Menacho was convicted in 2010 for sexually assaulting a 8-year-old girl.Three years later, in 2013, he was convicted of sexual interference after sexually touching an 8-year-old boy. In 2016, Menacho was sentenced to 10 months in jail and three years probation for sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl.

When he sexually assaulted his fourth victim in May, Menacho was still bound by probation from the 2016 conviction.

‘Completely defenceless’

Menacho’s most recent assault has left a “lasting impact on the victim,” who was “completely defenceless,” when he sexually assaulted her, said Scott. The woman – who filed a victim impact statement – is often anxious, angry and depressed, and copes daily with the “traumatic” event,” added Scott.

Scott, along with Menacho’s lawyer Tracy Bock, presented a joint-recommendation on sentencing: a prison term of three years and 8 months. Judge Garth Malakoe accepted the recommendation Friday.

Menacho’s rehabilitation was a main consideration in crafting the recommendation, said Scott.

No high-intensity sex offender programs in territory 

Mehacho, the court heard, participated in sex offender programs during his last incarceration – but territorial jails do not offer high-intensity programs. Those programs are only provided in southern prisons.

Bock told the court his client grew up in the shadow of the residential school system, and faced a “strong cycle of abuse and trauma.”

Many of his family members attending residential schools, and there was alcohol abuse in Menacho’s home, said Bock. Bock said Menacho also lives with “cognitive challenges,” and may have undiagnosed fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). He said Menacho may have been sexually abused himself.

Bock said his client wants to change his life and “become a better person.”

“I wish I can turn back time,” said Menacho, standing to address Judge Malakoe in a Yellowknife courtroom.

“I am sorry for making (the victim) suffer over and over,” he said.

Judge’s message to Menacho: ‘It’s going to get harder’

Malakoe said it’s easy, after 200 plus days in jail, to say “this is what I’m going to do when I get out … but it’s not so easy.”

“It’s going to get harder.”

Malakoe said that unless the four-time convicted sex offender doesn’t take the next three years to confront “pressures” present in his life – alcohol abuse, grief – he’ll be back before the courts – again.

Malakoe said the May sex assault had a  “devastating impact” on the victim.

Menacho must submit a sample of his DNA, and is required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. He’s barred from possessing firearms for 10 years after his release. On request from Menacho’s lawyer, Malakoe will make a judicial recommendation that Menacho serves his remainder of sentence in the North – to be close to ailing family – once he has completed high-intensity sex offender programs in a southern penitentiary.

“I hope you take my words to heart,” said Malakoe before Menacho was placed back into custody.

With credit for time spend in remand custody – 444 days – Menacho will have around two-and-a-half years left to serve.

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As the Yellowknifer’s crime reporter, it’s my job to keep readers up to speed on all-things “cops and courts” related. From house fires and homicides to courtroom clashes, it’s my responsibility to be there - day or night, rain or shine. When I’m not at court gathering stories, I’m in the office, making calls to lawyers, emailing RCMP and tracking down sources. After hours, I rely on the public to let me know what’s happening and where. Entering my second winter in Yellowknife since leaving my hometown of Peterborough, Ont., in October 2017, everyday on this beat continues to be challenging, rewarding and fulfilling. Got a story? Call me at (867) 766-8288 or shoot me an email at editorial@nnsl.com.

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