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Man sentenced to 18 months for voyeurism at Sooke pool changing room

Mark Istephan’s previous convictions include attempted kidnapping after he tried to pull a 13-year-old girl waiting at a bus stop into his vehicle
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Lobby of Sooke’s SEAPARC Recreation Centre. VIA CRD

A 52-year-old man has been sentenced to 18 months in jail for voyeurism after a woman was watched from an adjoining cubicle as she showered and dressed at Sooke’s SEAPARC Recreation Centre.

The jail sentence for Mark Istephan, whose previous convictions include attempted kidnapping in a case involving a 13-year-old girl, will be followed by three years of probation.

B.C. provincial court Judge Ted Gouge imposed a series of probation conditions, including that Istephan not be within 500 metres of the recreation centre and not have any communication with the victim or approach within 10 metres of her.

According to the written reasons for sentence, the victim was at the recreation centre on May 4, 2022, for a morning workout and was using a gender-neutral change room with individual cubicles equipped with showers.

As she was dressing after her shower, she saw “the shadow of a person in the adjoining cubicle who appeared to be peering through the space between the bottom of the cubicle wall and the floor,” the document said.

She “fled in fear” to the reception desk, police were called and Istephan was arrested.

The woman was terrified by what happened and continues to suffer from anxiety as a result, especially at public recreation facilities, the court document said.

The reasons for sentence noted Istephan’s previous offences, beginning in 2001 when he was in his early 30s and was charged with attempted kidnapping for trying to pull a 13-year-old girl waiting at a bus stop into his vehicle.

He was convicted and given an 18-month conditional sentence.

In 2007, he was convicted of committing an indecent act in a public place for masturbating while on a wharf at a popular lake near Victoria, and received a 60-day jail sentence and three years of probation.

Istephan was seen by several mental-health professionals from 2001 to 2008 and but was not co-operative with all of them, the document said.

There was no agreement among the mental-health professionals on a diagnosis, but they said he had some brain damage affecting his frontal lobe.

Some assessed him to have a moderate to high risk to re-offend in a sexual manner.

Istephan was convicted again in 2009, that time for breach of probation for failing to complete a sex-offender counselling program, and was once more found in breach of probation in 2014 for being within 200 metres of school grounds.

He declined to be interviewed by a forensic pathologist in the latter case, the judgment said, and had a pre-sentence report that said he was not concerned about his mental health and considered past diagnoses to be “fictitious.”

Istephan also refused further questioning “in relation to his behavioural and emotional ­status,” the report said.

jbell@timescolonist.com