Canadian Press, January 30, 2008
ST. JOHN’S—An Iranian man studying in Newfoundland has been sentenced to three months in jail for kissing a woman on her breast while the two were sharing an elevator.
Farhood Azarsina, 25, pleaded guilty last week to sexual assault.
Mr. Azarsina, a PhD student in engineering at Memorial University, admitted kissing the top of the woman’s breast while the two were on an elevator at the St. John’s school on Sept. 27.
He apologized in court last week, explaining he acted on impulse.
Judge David Orr said during sentencing Wednesday that Mr. Azarsina “has a superficial understanding of the effect of his actions.”
He sentenced the student to two months in jail but gave him double credit for the three weeks he’s already served, leaving him with 18 days left to serve.
Judge Orr said the fact the assault took place in an elevator, an enclosed space, added to the trauma.
Mr. Azarsina said he didn’t realize the seriousness of the offence in this country.
“You can’t expect all males to control themselves when the breasts are out,” he said.
The 20-year-old woman, in a victim-impact statement read in court last week, described the negative effect the incident has had on her life.
“It wasn’t supposed to be a day I should remember. Instead, it was a day I’ll never forget,” she said, adding it has turned her into a fearful person who is unable to sleep or concentrate.
“I’m struggling to retain some kind of normalcy in my life.”
Mr. Azarsina told the court last week that he has also suffered. He said he was verbally and physically harassed by other prisoners during his time in jail.
“They called me ‘camel-back rider’ and ‘Osama bin Laden,’ said Mr. Azarsina, who claimed he was assaulted twice.