A Vernon businessman and former hockey coach will serve almost two years in jail for sexually assaulting a teen girl nearly 20 years ago.
Keith Chase, owner of Chasers Bottle Depot, was sentenced by Justice Gary Weatherill to 23 months jail in BC Supreme Court at the Vernon courthouse Friday, Oct. 28.
In March, Chase was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl who was playing for a hockey team he coached. The teen was sleeping over at his house prior to a game between January and March 2004. Chase, now 55, was in his 30s at the time and drinking heavily, according to his lawyer.
At a sentencing hearing in September, Crown counsel Miho Ogi-Harris called for a sentence of two to four years. Defence lawyer Nicholas Jacob asked for two years of house arrest, or failing that, nine months jail followed by probation.
At the September hearing, Jacob read out a series of letters by members of the community who knew Chase. The letters described him as a “family man,” a role model for the hockey players on the many teams he coached, and someone with good character.
Ogi-Harris said the fact that Chase was a family man is what allowed him access to the victim.
“The good character … didn’t prevent this offence from happening,” Ogi-Harris said.
In addition to the jail time, Chase will be put on the sex offender registry for 20 years, is subject to a 10-year firearm ban, must provide a DNA sample and have no contact with the complainant.