No jail for Kamloops man who sexually assaulted Vernon teen on Tinder date | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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No jail for Kamloops man who sexually assaulted Vernon teen on Tinder date

Joel Eric Carlson.
Image Credit: Kamloops RCMP

A former Kamloops man who sexually assaulted an 18-year-old teen while on a Tinder date has avoided jail after a B.C. judge says the teen will be safer if he continued rehab rather than go to prison.

At the Vernon Courthouse, June 30, B.C. Provincial Court Judge Jeremy Guild sentenced former Kamloops resident Joel Eric Carlson to one year at a residential counselling centre in the Lower Mainland.

"The sooner he is rehabilitated the safer women will be. Incarceration will interrupt that," Judge Guild said.

Crown prosecutors had argued for 12 months jail, while Carlson's defence lawyer suggested Carlson should stay at the treatment centre where he was currently living while on bail.

While Carlson avoided jail, he also faces around a dozen other charges dating back nearly a decade for allegedly sexually assaulting numerous victims in Kamloops and Abbotsford.

The charges were laid after the Kamloops RCMP issued a press release saying Carlson had been charged and it believed there may be more victims.

It's not clear but it appears the alleged sexual assaults took place after meeting the women online.

READ MORE: Former Kamloops man guilty of sexually assaulting teen on Tinder date

This case is Carlson's first conviction so he entered the court as a first-time offender. The other remaining charges are still working their way through the court system.

This case dates back to 2020 when Carlson, born in 1992, pretended to be 22 and met a 17-year-old girl on the dating app Tinder.

The two met up in August 2020 when she was 18 years old after Carlson drove to Vernon to meet her.

He invited her into his truck and the two consensually kissed.

Carlson then sexually assaulted her. He was 27 or 28 years old at the time.

During the trial, he argued that the sexual touching had been consensual.

The judge didn't agree.

"His approach that night was to 'test the waters' by initiating various sexual acts without seeking consent and assumed that silence and a failure to object amounted to (her) consent," the judge said.

The judge described Carlson's actions as "reckless."

The court heard the sexual assault had a long-term effect on the victim.

The judge said she has distanced herself from many family and friends, lost her job shortly afterwards and remained angry at what happened.

"In spite of the impact, she has worked on herself," the Judge said.

The court heard how Carlson grew up in Abbotsford and his father died when he was a child. His mother had had several abusive relationships afterwards and moved regularly.

"He had no father figure that demonstrated or taught respect to and for women," the Judge said. "It is no surprise that he demonstrated those same traits when he met (the victim)."

Ultimately, Carlson was sentenced to 12 months at the residential treatment facility followed by two years probation. He was also banned from using internet dating websites.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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