Grandfather gets house arrest for helping daughter abduct her boys to Poland

The Canadian Press

NEWMARKET, Ont. - An elderly man has been sentenced to 18 months of house arrest for aiding his daughter in the abduction of her two young sons to Poland.

In handing down the sentence, Ontario Court Justice Joseph Kenkel said Tadeusz Ustaszewski played an “essential” role in the 2009 kidnapping of 11-year-old Alexander Watkins and eight-year-old Christopher Watkins.

Kenkel said if it wasn't for his ailing health, the 78-year-old would be sent to jail.

The boys' father — Stephen Watkins, of Newmarket, Ont. — was granted custody of the children after he split from his wife, Edyta Watkins.

She and the boys vanished in March 2009, only to emerge later in Poland, the woman's native country.

Ustaszewski sat with a Polish interpreter and showed little reaction during the judge’s remarks.

Last August, he was found guilty of child abduction for driving his daughter and the two boys to the U.S. where they boarded a flight to Frankfurt, Germany.

Outside the courthouse, Watkins called the sentence “bittersweet” and said he will continue to fight to bring his children back home to Canada.