As James Cardno was handcuffed and led out of a Surrey courtroom Tuesday afternoon, one of his victims stood and wept, knowing the man who sexually assaulted him and nine other boys will be behind bars for many years.
Cardno, who molested 10 boys and took pornographic photos of them, was sentenced to nine years in prison by a Surrey Provincial Court judge.
Families of other victims clapped and cheered as Cardno was taken into custody by sheriffs.
Cardno, 48, pleaded guilty to 15 child-sex and pornography charges last year. He initially faced 31 charges.
On Monday, the court heard how Cardno met some of the boys while babysitting, while others he was introduced to through other children.
Prior to handing down his sentence, Judge Peder Gulbransen said Cardno’s crimes involved “careful conditioning” of boys who were mostly between the ages of 10 and 14.
He described how Cardno would first get his victims accustomed to physical contact, through massages and games, and would then progress to physical touching and oral and anal sex.
“These are not isolated acts,” said Gulbransen, estimating there were hundreds of incidents of “unlawful touching.”
The crimes took place between 1993 and 2010 at Cardno’s apartment, as well as his mother’s house in Fraser Heights, although she was entirely unaware. His home was full of video games and he allowed drinking and smoking and sometimes even took the boys on trips. It was not uncommon for Cardno to give them money in return for sexual favours.
It wasn’t until 2011 when one of the males, now a young man, went to hospital suffering from a psychotic episode, possibly suicidal. He told a nurse he’d been sexually abused by Cardno as a child, as had several other people he knew. A year-long investigation involving 50 officers led police to hundreds, possibly thousands, of pornographic images which corroborated the kids’ stories.
It also developed into an international investigation as some of the images were of two boys from Ecuador. The court heard that Cardno had sponsored the kids as a foster parent. It was during a trip to Ecuador that he took naked photos of the boys, telling them it was Canadian custom.
Gulbransen said there is no doubt Cardno’s actions “have caused serious harm” to his victims, through it’s impossible to know the extent of that harm.
“The psychological wounds will probably fester for years,” Gulbransen said.
One of the victims mother’s submitted a victim impact statement to the court, describing that her son, now a young adult, continues to suffer from anxiety, depression, headaches and isolates himself from society. Her family, she said, has been torn apart by the sexual abuse.
Gulbransen said Cardno did not seem to have any significant adult relationships.
“My assessment is that these boys were his community … his life,” the judge said, noting Cardno thought the boys were his friends and that any sexual acts were done with their consent.
Gulbransen said Cardno was to be credited for pleading guilty and sparing the victims having to testify and relive their childhood trauma. Cardno is not unrepentant, said the judge.
“There is still some, albeit faint, hope for him.”
As well as the prison term, Cardno will be added to the national sex offender registry, is banned from communicating with his victims, has a 10 year weapons ban and may have no contact with kids after his release from prison, except for incidental contact that may occur through lawful employment.