Man admits to sexually assaulting granddaughters
(Warning: This story contains disturbing subject matter and coarse language, and may not be appropriate for all readers.)
It has been 15 years since Nicole and Leanne Eger were last in Willow Bunch. It's a place they thought they'd never see again.
"I don't have any good memories," Nicole said during a recent return to the small community southwest of Regina.
The bad memories started in the home of their grandfather, Pete Therrien, over a 13-year period in the 80s and 90s, when they were as young as four.
"He would be tickling and his hand would go too high and he'd start to rub my vagina, right in front of everybody," Leanne said in a recent interview with CTV News.
"He'd slide his hand up my shirt and rub my breasts in a room full of people."
According to court documents, the assaults were shockingly bold. They happened in the cellar of the Therrien home. The living room. A truck parked on the street in front of the house. Even a golf course.
"He would stick his fingers inside me," Leanne said.
"He would undo his pants, take my hand, and place it on his penis and have me rub his penis."
It took years for Leanne and Nicole to come to grips with what was happening. They were in their teens when they finally went to their parents for help.
"My parents refused," Leanne said.
"Mom said, 'no we are not getting the police involved. We don't think that is the right thing to do. We think it will be too traumatic for you'. And that was the end of it. There was no police involvement."
Leanne and Nicole stopped attending family gatherings, and for 15 years, tried to put the nightmare behind them. But they couldn't.
"It haunts me," Leanne said.
"I knew nobody would believe me. Going to that community and saying something? Nobody's going to believe me. They didn't believe it years ago, they're not going to believe it now."
But they did go to the police and people do believe them. Eighty-five-year-old Pete Therrien has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting both Leanne and Nicole.
Sentencing arguments and victim impact statements will be heard in November. Until then, Therrien is living at his home in Willow Bunch. That's where CTV Regina reporter Dale Hunter recently interviewed him.
"I am very sorry for what I done," Therrien said.
"I'm not proud of it. I'm ashamed of what I done. But I can't do nothing about it. It's over."
He says he can't explain why he sexually assaulted his two young granddaughters.
"I wish I could answer that question," Therrien said.
"If I could answer that question it would not have happened. I was a sick man without realizing it."
Therrien maintains he hasn't touched a child in 15 years and never will again. A sex offender risk report is being prepared for the courts.
"The truth is he is the only one who is not hurting. Everybody else is, and that's not fair," Nicole said.
Nicole is now a successful businesswoman and Leanne is with the RCMP. They admit that going public will not end their pain. However, they hope telling their story will spare others, and encourage more people to try and stop men like Therrien.
"People like him don't stop," Leanne said.
"They never stop."
Based on a report by Dale Hunter, CTV Regina