A long-haul trucker arrested after his increasingly intimate online relationship with a 14-year-old Winnipeg girl culminated with him abducting her and the two “running away together” to his Edmonton home has been sentenced to five years in prison.
Briant Vidrih, 31, previously pleaded guilty to one count each of child luring and abduction of a person under 16.
Vidrih, who was diagnosed last year with autism spectrum disorder, has maintained he was only trying to “help” the girl and had no sexual intent.
Provincial court Judge Cindy Sholdice said Vidrih clearly knew what he was doing was wrong, noting his efforts to keep his communications with the girl secret, and called the girl’s abduction “a parent’s worst nightmare.”
“Even though Mr. Vidrih had not yet engaged in explicit sexual contact, his actions and intentions were inherently wrongful,” Sholdice said Tuesday.
“He took advantage of the immaturity of a young child to cultivate a relationship of trust and dependence. He groomed her. He planned to purposely and secretly take a child two provinces away where she had no family or supports.”
Court has heard Vidrih and the girl began exchanging text messages after meeting in an online chat group in April 2019. Within a short time, the two were messaging each other day and night, with the girl pouring out the troubles of her teenage life, including her parents’ impending divorce.
The two made plans to “run away together.”