A former Edmonton King of the Cage fighter has been put behind a different set of bars for trying to extort money and sexual favours from a teenage girl he caught shoplifting while posing as a security guard.
Michael Joseph Jerace, 41, was handed a four-year prison sentence Thursday after earlier being found guilty of attempted sexual assault and unlawful confinement.
It is the fourth time the former boxer and mixed-martial arts competitor – who was described by the Crown as a “sexual predator” – has been convicted of extorting or trying to extort sexual favours from young women he found shoplifting while posing as mall security.
Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Richard Marceau said denunciation and deterrence were the major sentencing factors because Jerace was “preying on young women.”
Marceau said it was aggravating that Jerace had abused a 15-year-old girl and he had three “almost mirror-like” prior convictions from Burnaby, B.C. on his rap sheet.
The judge gave Jerace double credit for the 11 months he spent in pre-trial custody and then subtracted another two months as a result of it being “hard” time.
As well, Marceau knocked of a further six months after ruling the city police had breached his Charter rights by illegally arresting him as a result of going into his apartment without a warrant after using the “subterfuge” of saying at the door that someone needed help.
Jerace now has 18 months left to serve.
He was also ordered to submit a DNA sample for the national DNA databank in Ottawa and placed on the national sex offender registry for 10 years.
Court heard Jerace spotted the 15-year-old female victim, who cannot be identified, shoplifting at a Shoppers Drug Mart in City Centre Mall on April 11, 2007.
He stopped her and said he was with mall security and then, over a one-hour period, he controlled her movements within the mall and attempted to extort money and sexual favours from her in return for not turning her over to mall security or the police.
No money was ever paid by the girl – who was described as crying and distraught throughout the ordeal – and no sexual favours were obtained from her either.
Court heard Jerace was sentenced to three years in prison in 1999 after pleading guilty to two counts of sexual assault and one count of forcible confinement for posing as security and accusing young women or their companions of shoplifting and then extorting or attempting to extort sexual favours in return for deflecting prosecution.
Jerace has been in the Edmonton news twice before.
In March 2006, he was praised by city police after taking down a machete-wielding man who charged at a police officer in a crowded West Edmonton Mall food court.
In January 2004, Jerace was with Bandito biker Joey Morin, 34, and Robert Simpson, a 34-year-old associate of the outlaw motorcycle gang, outside the St. Pete’s strip club in the west end when the two were gunned down.
In a eulogy at Morin’s funeral, Jerace – who’d known the biker from their days training as amateur boxers – said: “In boxing, they never taught us how to deal with bullets.”