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Sentencing in sex assault case

A 22- year- old Penticton man was sentenced Monday in Penticton to a year probation, followed by a conditional discharge for having sex with a 15-year-old girl.

The man was facing two charges of sexual assault and sexual interference of a person under 16. He plead guilty to the first and the second count was stayed.

According to Crown Counsel Catherine Crockett, it came to the attention of the girl's mother last year that her daughter, a high school student, was engaging in uncharacteristic behaviour, sending naked pictures of herself to several males.

Among the men she sent the pictures to, were members of the Penticton Vees hockey club.

She transferred to another high school in the South Okanagan, and it came to her family's attention the pictures were still circulating.

They took away her phone and found evidence she had intercourse with different males, one of them being the accused.

The girl, who is not identified because of a publication ban, sent pictures to him and had sex with him twice.

They were in a relationship for five to six months, and it was clear from some texts he knew she was 15.

The relationship ultimately ended.

The girl did not wish to appear in court and wants to put the matter behind her, according to Crockett.

Crown and defence lawyer Michael Welsh decided on a joint submission of probation and a conditional discharge, because the accused does not have a criminal record and has his own challenges including some fetal alcohol effects and narcotic abstinence syndrome.

Welsh verified he does have some issues he inherited from his mother, because of her drug and alcohol use while pregnant.

In the relationship with the girl, they became friends on Facebook, and he became like a councillor, talking to her about being smarter.

Welsh admitted his client did receive pictures, one time by accident, and that he deleted them.

Judge Gale Sinclair said the terms of his probation include no contact with the girl and not engaging in any activities that involve contact with persons under age 16.

He will also be on the sex offender registry for 10 years and is required to complete 30 hours of community work service.

Sinclair was in agreement with the lawyers that he be discharged so he could get on with his life.

At the end of the sentencing, he said, "good luck young guy."



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