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Coach jailed for sex abuse

A Kamloops, B.C., hockey coach who sexually abused a player has been sentenced to 12 months in jail.

Heidi Ferber, an assistant hockey coach for a Minor Hockey Association girls' team, pleaded guilty to sexual interference of a person under 16 and sexual exploitation.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Hope Hyslop also sentenced Ferber to 18 months' probation, required her to be registered as a sex offender for 20 years and to undergo a psychiatric assessment.

"Ms. Ferber took advantage of her for her own sexual purposes," Hyslop said Wednesday. "It was a position of trust."

Hyslop said that while she believes Ferber is now remorseful, the coach knew her actions between the fall of 2010 and late 2011 were wrong.

"Ms. Ferber knew the behaviour was against the law," she said, adding the coach encouraged the girl not to tell anyone.

Court heard that in 2011, the girl wrote a poem containing suicidal references.

In early 2012, she told her mother what was going on and the two went to police.

A pre-sentence report found Ferber has little remorse and blames the girl.

On Wednesday, she made a tearful apology prior to sentencing.

"I made some huge mistakes I can't change," she said. "There's ripples that will go on for a long time."

The Crown was seeking nine- to 12 months behind bars while Ferber's defence lawyer wanted a sentence of six months, to be served on weekends.

Crown counsel Don Mann argued before the sentencing for the hearing to be re-opened, saying he wanted to call a witness who would testify to what he called an "inappropriate" relationship between Ferber and a former student.

The court heard that relationship was not criminal, and Hyslop declined to re-open the hearing and listen to testimony.

 

The Canadian Press

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