Defence recommends 18 months in jail for West Kelowna teacher guilty of sexual exploitation | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Defence recommends 18 months in jail for West Kelowna teacher guilty of sexual exploitation

Kelowna Law Courts
January 23, 2020 - 2:48 PM

A defence lawyer for a former West Kelowna teacher who pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation with a student says the teacher should serve a 12 to 18 month jail sentence, plus additional time for breaching court orders.

Thus far, the Kelowna court has heard the relationship between Bradley Furman, then 28, and a then-17-year-old girl, began when he was a teacher at Mount Boucherie Secondary.

The pair started speaking during spring break in the 2017/2018 school year about, among other things, Dungeons and Dragons and Furman’s marital issues. Furman said he thought the young woman was beautiful and how she was “his favourite student,” Crown counsel David Grabavac previously told the court.

Texts of a more sexual nature emerged as the conversations continued and Furman eventually asked the girl for a nude photo. The exact nature of the messages have been sealed for the duration of the hearing, at Crown’s requests.

Furman and the girl embarked on a physical relationship that was uncovered May 1, 2018, after Furman called the girl out of two classes with other teachers, which caused his peers to bring the matter to the school administration.

During the former teacher’s sentencing hearing today, Jan. 23, defence lawyer Claire Hatcher called the Crown’s recommendation of roughly six years of total jail time “excessive,” but acknowledged “it was (Furman’s) responsibility to prevent this relationship from forming and he objectively failed.”

Mount Boucherie Secondary School’s principal and vice-principal watched a video of Furman pulling the student from class and noted that they were “too close.” They then called Furman and the girl in for a conversation to talk about their relationship and learned that they had been sexually involved.

From there, Furman was charged and released on conditions that he broke multiple times.

A psychologist indicated the relationship was forged because of some immaturity on Furman's part.

The Crown’s recommendation includes 30 months for sexual exploitation, combined with additional jail time equating to roughly six years for the numerous court order breaches.

Hatcher said that she couldn’t find another case that compared to the Crown’s recommended sentence length, not even in Alberta.

She recommended a sentence of 12 to 18 months for the sexual exploitation charge, plus an additional three to six-month sentence for his court order breaches.

Hatcher said the teen didn’t consider herself a victim when Furman was arrested and when she made comments to the authorities, although Hatcher noted it wasn’t the position the teen should’ve had.

“It wasn’t a violent sexual assault,” Hatcher said.

Furman has come to realize the consequences of his actions and has sought both medical attention for anxiety and depression and counselling appointments with a therapist, Hatcher said.

He has not contacted the victim or attempted to influence her in any way since June 2019, she said, adding, “a page has been turned.”

Hatcher said Furman is a good candidate for rehabilitation.

His goal upon release is to contribute to the science community by completing a master’s degree, she said.

Furman, who sat quietly dressed in a baggy, long-sleeved red shirt, was stoned-faced throughout the proceedings this afternoon.

The judge is expected to sentence Furman in the coming weeks.

For past stories on the Bradley Furman case go here.

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