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Manitoulin drug dealer deemed dangerous offender in child sexual abuse case

A drug dealer from Manitoulin Island has been declared a dangerous offender after being convicted of more sex crimes against children.

Last week, Justice Alexander Kurke agreed with a joint submission by the Crown and defence that 29-year-old Russell Timothy Dean Manitowabi-Nebenionquit of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory be designated a dangerous offender.

Manitowabi-Nebenionquit has been consistently targeting young female Indigenous girls between the ages of 11 and 16 for sexual purposes since he was at least age 17, Kurke wrote in his decision.

He has a history of deliberately seeking out vulnerable victims to prey on, offering teen girls alcohol or drugs in return for sexual services and has shown failure to control his sexual impulses, Kurke said.

In the most recent case, he was convicted of eight out of 16 charges involving six different teens, including various sex offences, internet luring, communicating for the purposes of procuring sexual services from underage persons and making threats.

Some of his charges related to sexually touching a 13-year-old were dismissed due to lack of evidence after part of her police statement was used rather than testifying.

He was, however, found guilty of sexually assaulting and luring her over the internet.

Manitowabi-Nebenionquit also admitted to threatening to burn down her house when he became jealous she was dating someone.

The judge said the fact the offender "cold-called" one of the victims to "make her an offer of marijuana for fellatio" is troubling.

Manitowabi-Nebenionquit minimized, justified and denied responsibility for his harmful conduct, Kurke said in his decision, saying he felt that he had earned and deserved his victim's sexual compliance by giving them the drugs they wanted.

As a result, he is sentenced to 11.5 years of incarceration followed by a 10-year supervision order.

Manitowabi-Nebenionquit is receiving 4.5 years credit for presentence custody, which began in September 2020, under the Summers principle.


Despite several previous convictions dating to 2013 and completing a sexual offender relapse prevention program, he has done poorly in the past while on probation by reoffending.

Two forensic psychiatry experts agreed Manitowabi-Nebenionquit is at high risk for reoffending.

The dangerous offender hearing that took place over five days – three in July and two in early September – at the Gore Bay courthouse.

An impact statement on behalf of the Wiikwemkoong community was read during the hearing.

"That community feels that the offender is a significant threat to children in the community and has caused harm to particular children there," the statement said.

"To ensure that the offender cannot 'impact more young Indigenous girls and women in our community,' Wiikwemkoong 'wants it clear' that the offender is not allowed back in the community until he applies to be and is accepted back under Wiikwemkoong's residency code."

As part of the offender's sentence, he is banned from the First Nation community except with prior written permission from Chief and Council, which may impose conditions of its own.

Manitowabi-Nebenionquit said he wishes to return to his First Nation community and live at Rainbow Lodge, but the judge said he will need to show he can be trusted, which takes time.

One of the forensic psychiatrists, Dr. Treena Wilkie, said he would need lengthy and intensive treatment in custody to get him to a place where could be manageable in the community so the risks of harm he represents can be controlled.


Being an Indigenous man, the judge took into consideration that Manitowabi-Nebenionquit has personal and family history that includes evidence of the lingering effects of colonization and intergenerational trauma.

"The offender has suffered his own harms and traumas, 'from which he has not healed,' the community impact statement read.

"Wiikwemkoong encourages the court to consider the safety of the community and its children and also the rehabilitation of the offender, 'who himself was once a wounded child.' Deterrence, healing and change are necessary to break the cycle of violence."

Kurke acknowledged that Manitowabi-Nebenionquit used his past three years in custody productively, earning his high school diploma and completing many self-study courses, which offers reason to expect improvement.

"I believe that he is now motivated to learn and capable of learning the lessons from appropriate programming in the penitentiary," the judge wrote.

In addition to his prison and supervision, there is a no-contact order with the victims while he is in custody.

The offender also has lifetime bans for possessing weapons and for taking part in activities where he would have contact with people under 16.

He will be placed on the sex offender registry for life and submit his DNA for the nationwide database. 


If you or someone you know is struggling with sexual assault or trauma, the following resources are available to support people in crisis:

If you are in immediate danger or fear for your safety, you should call 911.

A full list of sexual assault centres in Canada that offer information, advocacy and counselling can be found at Resources in your community can be found by entering your postal code. 

Helplines, legal services and locations that offer sexual assault kits in Alberta, B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, Ontario and Nova Scotia can be found here.

National Residential School Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419

24-hour crisis line: 1-416-597-8808 

Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-833-900-1010 

Trans Lifeline: 1-877-330-6366

Sexual misconduct support for current or former members of the Armed Forces: 1-844-750-1648

Read about your rights as a victim here. Top Stories

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