Man accused of 'horrific' crimes receives sentence, victims speak out
Published Friday, August 23, 2013 11:03AM MDT
Last Updated Friday, August 23, 2013 6:21PM MDT
WARNING: Readers may find some of the information detailed in this story disturbing.
A man who pleaded guilty to nearly a dozen charges Friday in connection with incidents across Alberta where women were allegedly lured into dangerous relationships has been sentenced and his victims are speaking out.
36-year-old Shannon Bradford Dixon, was sentenced to 12.5 years - less time served, after he pleaded guilty to eleven charges including sexual assault, extortion and bestiality. He will serve 10.5 years in a federal penitentiary.
In handing down his sentence Justice Sterling Sanderman concluded Dixon “took money, dignity and self-respect from seven women.”
He went on to call Dixon a “self-centered and loathsome man” who “objectified women for sexual pleasure and callously treated them as money sources.”
Court heard Friday that Dixon, also known as Shannon Mercer, would meet his victims on the online dating website 'Plenty of Fish', telling some he was a helicopter pilot. He would later tell them lies including that he was in trouble with drug dealers and needed money to pay them off in order to avoid deadly consequences.
Police called the allegations "horrific" and said Dixon received $100,000-$300,000 from at least seven women.
Dixon admitted to burning one of the victims’ breasts and forcing another to have sex with a dog.
Six of Dixon's victims were in the courtroom Friday along with representatives from Victims’ Services and the RCMP.
Speaking to CTV News, one of the victims said the sentence would bring enough closure for her to move on.
“He did a lot of damage to a lot of people; he changed a lot of people’s lives. Not just ourselves but we have families, we have children, employers that had to support us through this whole process,” she said outside of court.
She said Dixon would charm her with evenings out and shopping sprees, “obviously at the expense of the other girls.”
“I’m a strong person but this truly rocked my world,” she continued.
“Across the board they are a group of women who didn’t deserve this to happen to them and it really shook their life,” Cpl. Colette Zazulak with the Spruce Grove/Stony Plain RCMP said Friday.
She went on to say it took several years to investigate Dixon with officers working in several jurisdictions.
Cpl. Zazulak said she believes the sentence Dixon received reflects the facts of the case but that she doesn’t believe “there is a sentence that could bring back a sense of wholeness to these victims.”
As part of the sentencing, Dixon must submit a DNA sample and will be added to the sex offender registry, an additional condition includes a firearms ban.
He is also ordered to pay over $200,000 restitution to several of his victims.
While she said it will give her some closure, the victim who spoke to CTV News admitted she doesn’t think Dixon realizes the damage he has done. She warns others to be aware of who they are getting into a relationship with.
“It is important to listen to those bells in the back of your head and follow your heart,” she said.
In March 2011, police released a public plea looking for help in identifying additional women who may have been victimized by Dixon.
Before being brought to Alberta to face the charges, Dixon completed a 10-month sentence in Ontario for 22 charges including criminal harassment, assault and uttering threats.
With files from Susan Amerongen