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Kelowna man sentenced to two years for possessing child porn

Two years for child porn

A 26-year-old man was sentenced in Kelowna court Friday to two years in jail for possessing more than 27,000 photos and 1,000 videos of child pornography.

Tanner Klassen was arrested two years ago after he accidentally left a USB flash drive in a TV he had sold. When Klassen messaged the buyer about getting the 128 gigabyte flash drive back, the person opened the flash drive on their computer and found the horrific images and videos.

The buyer of the TV called police, and Klassen, who had no prior criminal record, was charged with possession of child pornography soon after.

During sentencing Friday, Judge Cathaline Heinrichs said many of the images and videos involved children as young as three or four involved in sexual acts with adults.

In his discussions with the author of a presentence report, Klassen, who referred to himself as “one of the coolest” kids in his school, said he was given the flash drive by a group of middleschool students back in 2011, when Klassen was in Grade 11 or 12. The buyer of the TV found the flash drive about seven years later, in March 2018.

“(Klassen) told the author that he intentionally did not view all the images but could not adequately explain why he maintained possession of the child pornography if he was not using it,” Judge Heinrichs said.

“Mr. Klassen acknowledged owning the USB drive but dismissed much of the case as a misunderstanding.”

While he said he hadn't used the flash drive since 2011 or 2012, it was found inside a TV that was manufactured in 2013.

“Mr. Klassen has not taken full responsibility for his action of being in possession of child pornography or fully appreciated the harmfulness of the material on the flash drive,” Judge Heinrichs said.

At some point while Klassen was out of custody on bail, his then-girlfriend reported seeing child pornography on Klassen's phone. The Crown did not pursue additional charges against Klassen for this incident. Additionally, Judge Heinrichs said Klassen had been investigated for possession of child pornography in 2011, but the details of that investigation were not disclosed.

He has been classified as a “moderate risk to reoffend.”

The Crown was seeking a sentence of 18 to 24 months while defence proposed an eight to 10 month sentence.

Citing in part Klassen's "dismissive attitude" and lack of insight into the offence, Judge Heinrichs sentenced Klassen to two years in jail, followed by three years of probation. Klassen will be on the federal sex offenders registry for 20 years.

Klassen's parents were in the courtroom during Friday's sentencing, and as he was being taken away by the sheriff, he asked if he could say goodbye to his family. “No,” the sheriff replied.

Two of the RCMP officers involved in the investigation were also in the courtroom to see the conclusion of what was no doubt a difficult process.

“It's been a long wait, but we're satisfied,” one of the officers said.



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