— Kamloops this Week
A Kamloops sex offender who garnered headlines across Canada and around the world last month when a judge put his jail sentence on hold until May so he could finish his semester at university will be behind bars later this week.
Connor Neurauter, 21, pleaded guilty last year to one count of sexual interference of a person under 16 stemming from a relationship he had with a 13-year-old girl in 2015. He was 18 at the time.
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Following the brief relationship, Neurauter threatened to share nude photos of the young girl with her family.
He was sentenced on Jan. 4 to 90 days in jail, but a Kamloops judge postponed Neurauter’s incarceration at the request of his lawyer, who asked for the delay so his client could finish his academic year at the University of Calgary.
The story on Neurauter, which initially appeared only in KTW, was picked up by other media outlets and sparked outrage online. More than 75,000 people have signed a Change.org petition urging the University of Calgary to expel him and that number continues to grow.
While university administrators stopped short of such a penalty, they did urge Neurauter to stay off campus for the time being — a move slammed by the Criminal Trial Lawyers Association, which called it a “de facto expulsion.”
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In Kamloops provincial court on Monday, Feb. 5, Neurauter asked Kamloops provincial court Judge Stephen Harrison to reverse course on the deferred sentence and allow him to serve his time on weekends. Harrison was the sentencing judge who agreed to put Neurauter’s imprisonment on hold in January.
“I made a determination it was appropriate Mr. Neurauter be permitted to serve his sentence in an intermittent fashion [one nominal day on Jan. 4 and 89 days beginning in May] that would allow him to finish his schooling,” the judge said. “I gather that has not panned out.”
Defence lawyer Ken Sommerfeld said his client has a job that sees him work four days a week. Sommerfeld added that Neurater is taking courses through distance learning.
Harrison agreed with the proposal.
“I’m satisfied it is appropriate to allow Mr. Neurauter employment and home study … while he observes the punishment imposed by law,” Harrison said.
With that, an unnamed observer stood up in the courtroom gallery and began shouting.
“Absolute horse shit, your honour,” he said, walking from his seat to the doors of the courtroom. “You’re out of your mind. Absolutely out of your mind.”
A deputy sheriff followed the man out of the courtroom.
Outside court, Neurauter said he was going to attack the man, who had by then left the courthouse.
“Who is this guy?” he said. “I’m going to smash his teeth in.”
Neurauter will serve his sentence from Friday evenings to Sunday afternoons beginning this coming weekend.