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Former Edmonton soldier who spied on young woman given jail time

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A former Canadian soldier who secretly recorded intimate images of an Edmonton woman — including when she was underage — has failed in his bid to avoid jail time for the crimes.

Craig Goetz, 54, was led away in handcuffs Monday after Alberta court of justice Assistant Chief Justice Joyce Lester sentenced him to 18 months in jail for two counts of voyeurism.

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“The court finds that a sentence of actual incarceration is warranted, and a conditional sentence would not be appropriate,” said Lester, citing the “egregious” nature of Goetz’s crimes.

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Goetz’s victim, who cannot be identified under a publication ban, said she hopes the outcome “can help future victims find justice.”

“This process taught me that our justice system is imperfect and can never truly make victims whole again,” she said in an email. “However, I am relieved that after over two years and over a dozen adjournments I can finally put this all behind me. Judge Lester’s decision has given me some hope.”

Goetz was charged with six offences in 2021 after voyeuristic images of the victim were discovered on his computer. It was later discovered he had placed secret cameras around the victim’s home, including in her bathroom and bedroom. He also took surreptitious recordings of the victim on his cellphone, amassing a collection of 800 images and videos, some of which were cropped to focus on her private areas.

The voyeurism took place between 2017 and 2020 and included a period when the victim was a minor. Goetz was released on bail after his arrest and until recently was living in Calgary and working as a safety manager at a construction company.

Goetz previously served as a warrant officer with Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. He retired from the military in 2012 after a 21-year career that included deployments to Croatia, Kosovo and Afghanistan, with postings in both Kabul and Kandahar.

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Goetz said he long suspected he had PTSD stemming from the deployments, though he wasn’t formally diagnosed until last year. He told court he binge drank regularly before meeting the first of his three wives and struggled throughout his life with pornography addiction.

An expert who assessed Goetz ultimately found no evidence PTSD played any role in his criminal behaviour, which was linked to a voyeuristic disorder.

Goetz pleaded guilty to the two counts of voyeurism in November 2022.

Crown prosecutor Monica Sabo and defence lawyer Moira McAvoy agreed Goetz should serve a two-year sentence, plus two years of probation, but clashed on where that time should be served. Sabo asked Lester to sentence Goetz to jail time, while McAvoy sought a two-year conditional sentence order, which would have allowed Goetz to serve his time in the community.

Lester ultimately agreed jail was appropriate in the case. She noted that while Goetz’s guilty plea saved the victim from having to testify, he nonetheless carried out a sophisticated, yearlong scheme to degrade her for his sexual gratification.

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Lester acknowledged Goetz’s expressions of remorse but questioned whether he had developed any real insight into his offending. She noted that while Goetz has attended Sexaholics Anonymous (the usefulness of which the Crown called into question), he previously went years without seeking help for his PTSD despite knowing the harm it was causing.

Goetz clasped his hands together and stared at the floor as Lester read her decision and occasionally held his head in his hands.

The victim said she was grateful for the family and friends who stood by her throughout the court process. But she lamented the other victims of sexual abuse who do not have such support.

“When everything happened to me, I called SACE (the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton) — they had a nine-month wait time. I couldn’t have imagined if that had been my only resource. I hope that our community resources and funding improve so that all victims have access to what they need to heal.”

“And I hope that Craig never hurts another woman or child in the ways that he has hurt me.”

Goetz is also required to pay around $20,000 in restitution to the victim and her family.

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