Don MacIntyre pleaded guilty to sexual interference against a person under the age of 16 in Red Deer court Friday.

The former United Conservative Party MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake was charged with sexual assault and sexual interference at the beginning of 2018.

The sexual assault charge was withdrawn.

In an agreed statement of facts, the court heard that between five and 10 incidents of sexual touching happened between January 2010 and December 2011 in Sylvan Lake. 

Court heard that MacIntyre told his victim, “God said that God was okay with the touching.”

The victim was 10 years old at the time.

In her victim impact statement she said she told her mother about the abuse in 2015, after MacIntyre won the election.  

"I began to think it was my fault," she told the court, adding she also became suicidal.

Defence lawyer Ian McKay described his client as “a very decent man.”

MacIntyre spoke briefly from the prisoners box and issued another apology to his victim.

“I sincerely hope she gets the help she needs in order to move forward,” he said.

The Crown was seeking a three to three-and-a half year sentence, while the defence asked for a two-year sentence.

The judge handed down a three-year sentence. He will be on the sex offenders list for 20 years, and must not have any communication with the victim while incarcerated.

The victim, who cannot be identified, did speak to media outside the courthouse after the verdict.

“It’s partially because he has been so public for so long that I want what he did to me also to be public, and also there for you know. As much as he may have helped the community, it doesn’t change that he ruined a family.”

She said she has been waiting for this day for a long time.  

“He’s always been in a position of power and it was so good to see that taken away from him.”

She added, “I think I can go forward a lot happier. Feeling a lot safer and also more confident because I know that in the end the justice system worked out for me, and I don’t have to be afraid anymore.”

She also offered advice for other abuse victims.

“That it does get better. I didn’t believe that for the first few years but it does get better and telling people about it will definitely speed the process of it getting better."

The United Conservative Caucus issued a statement regarding MacIntyre’s guilty plea: “We hope this disgusting individual faces the full extent of the law in sentencing for his odious crime. Our thoughts remain with the victim and all those affected at this time.”

MacIntyre resigned from the legislature in February 2018 after the charges were laid.

“The individual is not a UCP member. His membership was revoked when charges became known last year,” the UCP added.

MacIntyre will serve his sentence at Bowden Institution.

With files from Tyson Fedor