Sex offender's sentence delayed so he can finish college

Connor Neurauter is being asked not to return to the University of Calgary campus

Neurauter is a convicted sexual offender who had his 90-day sentence postponed in order for him to complete his semester at the U of C. Neurauter was convicted of sexual interference with a 13-year old on January 4.

"This does not mean that the university condones sexual violence or harassment, nor does it mean that we prioritize the rights of a convicted individual over the safety of our university community", said Dru Marshall, the provost for the University of Calgary school's provost, according to CBC News.

"They're missing an opportunity to set the tone on sexual violence, and I think they can do more than just say they've asked him to stay away and they're not expelling him".

The statement was issued in response to an online petition that garnered almost 50,000 signatures in a matter of days.

While students said the dilemma draws into question the school's commitment to protecting victims of gender-based violence, Marshall said the decision doesn't change the University of Calgary's commitment to providing a safe environment for both faculty and students.

Neurauter, 21, pleaded guilty to sexual interference in a B.C. court earlier this month in connection with an incident involving a minor in his hometown of Kamloops. Although there is a lot of information in social media in particular, all facts about the case are not known because the B.C. court has issued a publication ban.

But for now, the U of C has no way to outright expel Neurauter, since he wasn't a student when he committed the 2016 offence. Another charge of possession of child pornography was later dropped.

He was sentenced to 90 days in jail but was allowed to finish his second-year courses this semester before checking into a regional correctional facility in Kamloops.

His sentence was supposed to start on Jan 4.

But what's even more shocking is the fact that the University of Calgary has failed to expel Neurauter, despite the fact he is a convicted sexual assailant.

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"The matter in British Columbia occurred before Mr. Neurauter was a student at the University of Calgary", Marshall said in the statement.

"This is important, because our policies do not apply to activity that occurred before the person was a member of our campus community", the school stated.

An online petition created earlier in the week had garnered almost 50,000 signatures to expel the student, who is studying science at the University of Calgary.

Marshall writes in the statement that the U of C's policies don't allow for Neurauter's expulsion because his charges took place before he began school at the U of C.

"Management is continuing to assess the situation and is working with Mr. Neurauter to come to a resolution that respects all involved", read the statement. His choice was meant to minimize the impact on the victim, she said.

Kaitlyn Casswell, the woman behind the petition, said she was disappointed at the University of Calgary.

She said her son has been threatened online and she's heard students are demanding class lists to find out where he's going to be on campus.

Neurauter's parents encouraged their son to take the plea bargain that included the delayed sentence, Susan Neurauter said, but added that she regrets it now that she's seen the reaction. He didn't rape anyone.

"For those survivors who do choose to access the criminal justice system, the rates of conviction are equally low and sentencing is not what it should be", she said.

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