December 03, 2013 - 9:53 AM
THEN 20-YEAR-OLD HAD RELATIONSHIP WITH 15-YEAR-OLD
PENTICTON - If a young man obeys the rules of his sentence, he'll have no criminal record even after pleading guilty to and being sentenced for sexual assault.
Harrison Bruce, 22, was involved in a consensual relationship with a then 15-year-old girl, Crown prosecutor Catherine Crockett said. Despite both parties agreeing to having a sexual affair, it was still illegal for him to do so. Bruce was in Penticton court on Monday to answer for his crime.
The relationship began in 2011 when the girl, who is unable to be identified due to a court order, began sending nude photos of herself to Penticton Vees hockey players and other young men, including Bruce.
Bruce and the girl started a relationship that lasted about six months. During this time he discovered she was 15 years old but he continued seeing her, Crockett said.
Sometime between 2011 and 2012, the girl's mother discovered her child sending images and the 15-year-old transferred schools to avoid being stigmatized.
Crockett said Bruce does not have a previous criminal record, he was co-operative with police in providing a statement and it was a consensual affair.
Defence lawyer Michael Welsh said his client is employed, has never shown the nude pictures to anyone and the relationship ended on neutral terms.
Provincial Court Judge Gale Sinclair appeared sympathetic.
"It's unfortunate, but it is unlawful," he said to Bruce.
Sinclair sentenced Bruce to a conditional discharge, meaning if he is of good behaviour for one year on probation and completes 30 hours of community service, the conviction will not register on his criminal record.
The other charge of sexual interference of person under 16 stayed.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013