West Kelowna teacher who sexually exploited student gets 2 more years behind bars | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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West Kelowna teacher who sexually exploited student gets 2 more years behind bars

Kelowna Law Courts
February 11, 2020 - 10:24 AM

The former West Kelowna high school teacher who seduced one of his students and refused to stop seeing her even after the court intervened will be in prison for two more years.

Justice Clarke Burnett sentenced Bradley Furman, 30, to three years and two months jail and credited him for 11 months already served. That leaves two years and three months of new jail time, which will be served in a federal prison.

Burnett said that Furman's actions "have had a profound detrimental effect" on the teen he engaged in the exploitative relationship with as well as her family.

His actions have also had a negative impact on his colleagues and he "has tarnished (the teaching) profession" with the selfish decision to have a relationship with the teen.

Furman's actions must be denounced, Burnett said adding that the sentence must deter others from engaging in similar relationships.

Furman was 28 years old and a teacher at Mount Boucherie when he struck up a relationship with a 17-year-old student, who he first met when she was in Grade 7.

They 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 told her she was “his favourite student,” Crown counsel David Grabavac told the court.

READ MORE: Kelowna court hears about relationship between teacher and student

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 request.

Within short order 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.

Mount Boucherie Secondary School’s principal and vice-principal watched 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 which he broke four times. The court heard he and the girl kept their relationship going regardless of what happened in court.

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

“(Furman showed) mild social immaturity. There was a juvenile quality to his interactional style,” Dr. Matthew Burnett said, upon being questioned about reports he wrote about Furman in June and then November.

“Furman presented as somewhat less socially mature than a typical adult of his age… There was a sort of naivety about him at times and also a sort of peevishness around the sanctions he was under. There was not really a mature understanding, in my opinion, on the link (between) his behaviours and the current circumstances.”

Furman’s defence lawyer Claire Hatcher pointed out that it wasn't a violent attack and said her client 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.

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.”

He pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation and breach charges and Grabavac proposed a sentence of 71 months less time served for Furman.

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.”

She says the teacher should serve a 12- to 18-month jail sentence, plus additional time for breaching court orders.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 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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