Matthew Douglas Twyne, 31, is taken back into custody after his sentencing hearing in provincial court in St. John’s Monday afternoon. Twyne pleaded guilty to exposing himself to teenage dance students attending a class at a Lemarchant Road dance studio in May.
Matthew Douglas Twyne, 31, pleaded guilty to exposing his penis to a group of teenage girls at a St. John’s dance school in May, as well as a number of other charges, including breaching a court order that he attend sex-offender counselling.
“I do agree with the Crown that this individual is not a good candidate for rehabilitation and public safety is the priority here,” Judge Mike Madden said.
Twyne has been in custody since May 17, when he was arrested by police as he came out of a dance school on Lemarchant Road around 9:30 p.m. An instructor had been teaching a class of girls between the ages of 14 and 16 when she noticed Twyne, standing near the change room, looking through the glass at them. His bare penis was pressed against the glass.
The teacher told Twyne to leave and he did — but he was back 15 minutes later. Having been told to leave again, he returned a third time. The last time he returned, the instructor took out her phone and recorded a video of him.
“Each time he came around the corner to look into the change room, he had his penis in his hand,” Crown prosecutor Jennifer Lundrigan told the court.
When police arrested Twyne, he told them he had gone for a walk downtown and stopped in at the dance school, which is located in the same building as a daycare centre and other businesses, on the way home to use the washroom. He didn’t reply when officers asked him how he knew there was a washroom there he could use. The officers found Twyne smelled of alcohol and was carrying a pill bottle with marijuana remnants inside, as well as a hunting knife. Twyne was in violation of six of his previous court orders, including conditions of an 810.1 order, which is given to a sex offender who is believed to be at high risk to reoffend.
“This is definitely not a situation where the sentence should fall toward the lighter end,” Lundrigan said before presenting her submissions on sentencing.
She asked Madden to consider a total sentence of just under three years for the incident, as well as another two to three months for an unrelated probation breach: last fall, Twyne failed to show up at a court-ordered counselling session for sexual offenders.
Twyne’s lawyer, Daniel Furey, who told the court Twyne was apologetic and embarrassed, said a sentence of 18 months would be more appropriate.
When asked if he had anything to say to the court, Twyne — who is already on the sex-offender registry for life — asked Madden to consider not giving him a term of probation, since probation officers are required to tell potential landlords of his sex-offender status.
“I had to spend nine months in a shelter before I could find a place to live last time,” Twyne said. “I’m likely to be homeless or in a shelter for my entire probation.”
Twyne will be sentenced Aug. 18.