File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS The campus of the University of Calgary, is shown. The university says it is reviewing the situation of Connor Neurauter, a student who pleaded guilty to sexual interference last year.

University of Calgary says no grounds to expel student convicted of sex crime

CALGARY — 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.

Just Posted

Growing drug-fuelled emergencies at Red Deer’s Buffalo transitional housing complex

City council approves two additional mental health staffers at complex

Climate change, receding glaciers increase landslide risk on B.C.’s Mount Meager

VANCOUVER — Climate change is causing glaciers atop Mount Meager in British… Continue reading

China, US discuss plans for trade talks

BEIJING — China’s economy czar and U.S. trade envoys discussed plans for… Continue reading

‘We’re going to have a deal very soon’: Staff briefed on possible ServiCom buyer

SYDNEY, N.S. — The sudden closure of a Cape Breton call centre… Continue reading

Equalization protests from Alberta likely pre-election talk: Quebec minister

OTTAWA — Quebec’s finance minister brushed off complaints from Alberta on Monday… Continue reading

Sebastian Giovinco, Jonathan Osorio and Adriana Leon up for top CONCACAF awards

Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco and Jonathan Osorio are up for CONCACAF male… Continue reading

Huitema, Cornelius named 2018 Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

TORONTO — Canada Soccer has named striker Jordyn Huitema and defender Derek… Continue reading

Review: Too much Spider-Man? Not in the Spider-Verse

You might be forgiven for feeling superhero overload this holiday season. Had… Continue reading

‘Modern Family’s’ Sarah Hyland had second kidney transplant

LOS ANGELES — “Modern Family” star Sarah Hyland says she had a… Continue reading

Orlando SC acquires Canadian Tesho Akindele in trade with FC Dallas for cash

ORLANDO, Fla. — Canadian forward Tesho Akindele was traded to Orlando City… Continue reading

Koskinen notches third shutout, McDavid gets winner as Oilers blank Flames 1-0

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers appear to have shored up their defence… Continue reading

Beyonce performs at pre-wedding party in India

Beyonce brought her star power to a pre-wedding party for the daughter… Continue reading

Kirk Douglas celebrates 102nd birthday

LOS ANGELES — Actor Kirk Douglas got to celebrate his 102nd birthday… Continue reading

Most Read