Connor Neurauter. Image credit: Facebook

University of Calgary won’t expel sex offender

The University of Calgary says it has no grounds to expel student, Connor Neurauter, convicted of sex crime

The University of Calgary says it has no grounds to expel a student convicted of sexual interference of a 13-year-old girl in British Columbia.

The administration made the comment Thursday in the face of a petition signed by a growing number of people that calls for the expulsion of Connor Neurauter.

University Provost Dru Marshall said the situation is complicated and difficult, but the crime took place before Neurauter was enrolled as a student.

“The matter in British Columbia occurred before Mr. Neurauter was a student at the University of Calgary,” Marshall said in a statement.

“This is important, because our policies do not apply to activity that occurred before the person was a member of our campus community. We have no grounds on which to expel him.”

Marshall said the university’s position does not mean that it condones sexual violence, harassment or puts the rights of a convicted individual over the safety of the university community.

He said Neurauter has not been on campus since Tuesday, and has been advised not to return for the remainder of the term.

In November, Neurauter, 21, pleaded guilty in a Kamloops, B.C., court to one count of sexual interference with a minor. Another charge of possession of child pornography was later dropped.

Earlier this month he was sentenced to 90 days in jail, two years probation and is to be registered as a sex offender.

The B.C. prosecution service said he served the first day of his sentence on Jan. 4, but the judge permitted him to serve the remainder starting May 4 after finishing his semester at the University of Calgary.

By Thursday afternoon, more than 46,000 people had signed the petition urging the university to expel Neurauter.

“While the courts have seemingly failed the victim, the University of Calgary now has the opportunity to help change the narrative of this story,” the petition says.

His mother, Susan Neurauter, said the university asked him to stay off campus, in part for his own safety.

She said her son has been threatened online and she’s heard students are demanding class lists to find out where he’s going to be on campus.

She said there’s nothing unusual about a court allowing an intermittent sentence and her son was not treated differently.

“They offered him an opportunity to better himself and I don’t understand what the problem is with that.”

In interviews with Postmedia and CBC News, the victim’s mother said Neurauter was given special treatment by the courts throughout the trial and that it’s unfair he has the opportunity to finish his semester before going to jail.

The mother cannot be identified because of a publication ban meant to protect the victim.

Kamloops This Week reported from the trial that Neurauter, a former junior hockey goaltender, obtained nude photos from the girl and threatened to show them to her family. The court heard he was 18 when he and the girl had a brief relationship, Kamloops This Week reported.

By taking a plea bargain, Neurauter gave up his opportunity to tell his side of the story in court, his mother said. His choice was meant to minimize the impact on the victim.

“Of course he has regrets and remorse, but he was making an effort to not only acknowledge that, but put this behind him.”

The University of Calgary’s Consent Awareness and Sexual Education Club called the punishment Neurauter received shameful.

“The lack of significant consequences faced by Neurauter and other sexual predators demonstrates the dismissive attitude that society shows toward sexual violence and abuse,” the club said in a statement.

“It discourages victims from coming forward as perpetrators are accommodated and their actions are excused for the sake of not impeding their ‘potential.’”

Wayne MacKay, a law professor at Dalhousie University, said Neurauter’s case leaves the University of Calgary in a tough predicament.

“It is important and significant exactly what kind of offence is involved and whether there is a significant risk to any other students. And if there is, then there’s a pretty high responsibility on the school to do something that would minimize that risk for everyone,” he said.

“On the other hand, expelling a student is a very serious matter and if that is not required for the safety of the students, that may be too harsh a penalty.”

MacKay led a study on campus-based sexual violence at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax after a video surfaced showing student leaders singing a chant about underage sex during orientation week.

He said he’s not surprised the latest case is drawing so much outrage at a time when accusations of sexual assault and harassment have been toppling the careers of some of the most powerful men in Hollywood, the press and politics.

The university must focus on doing what’s right, as opposed to what’s most popular, he said.

“It’s about providing justice to all concerned in this very difficult situation.”

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

The campus of the University of Calgary, is shown on Saturday May 29, 2004. The university says it is reviewing the situation of Connor Neurauter, a student who pleaded guilty to sexual interference last year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Just Posted

More wind storms to hit Vancouver Island, expected to taper off for Christmas Day

Another special weather statement in effect for evening of Dec. 19

Courtesy parking tickets invite Victoria to pay it forward

Christmas program to cut drivers a break in the city has run for more than two decades

Councillor criticizes board overseeing wastewater treatment project

Coun. Judy Brownoff accuses project board of ignoring public input

Catch last call and a cheap ride home: Late night buses coming to Victoria in 2019

New plan will extend service on weekends with last trip leaving downtown at 3 a.m.

West Shore RCMP investigating after parking lot carjacking in Langford

Man was thrown from his vehicle near Millstream Road McDonald’s Monday night

Santa visits some of Victoria General Hospital’s littlest patients

Santa flew in to the hospital via air ambulance helicopter

READER POLL: Do you have turkey or ham for Christmas dinner?

What are you having for Christmas dinner? Canadians gobbled up 3.3 million… Continue reading

‘Laverne & Shirley’ star, ‘Big’ director Penny Marshall dies

Marshall died of complications from diabetes on Monday, Dec. 17, 2018, at her Hollywood Hills home. She was 75.

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 18, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. Court of Appeal to rule in terror case that centres on RCMP conduct

B.C.’s appeal court is scheduled to release a decision today on a couple whose guilty verdict over plotting to blow up the provincial legislature was thrown out by a lower court judge.

Trump backs off on demand for $5 billion to build a border wall

Congress and President Donald Trump continue to bicker over his demand that lawmakers fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Canadian detained in China, not clear if related to two other detentions

Reports suggest the person is not a diplomat or entrepreneur doing business in China.

Trudeau sees 2019 election as choice between positive Liberals, divisive Tories

Trudeau is drawing much the same battle lines that propelled the Liberals to a come-from-behind victory in 2015

Snowfall warning issued for Coquihalla, Highway 3

Make sure to equip winter tires if travelling

Most Read