A University of Calgary student who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl received a suspended sentence, allowing him to finish the spring semester and begin serving his time in May.
[Connor] Neurauter, 21, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual interference and was sentenced last week to 89 days in jail. A charge of possession of child pornography was stayed. He was 18 at the time of the offence.
The mother of Neurauter's victim said he had received special treatment throughout the process, with courts granting delays in order to accommodate Neurauter's school and hockey schedules.
"I'm the only person who went to court every time there was a court date, even if it was just to set a court date. I was there," she said.
Following the news of his suspended sentence, she expressed concern that he would be allowed to go about his business on campus:
"I feel for the safety of other students that you have a sexual offender attending your university," said the woman, who can't be identified under a publication ban that protects the identity of her daughter.
But Neurauter's father sees the situation differently:
Connor's father, Chris Neurauter, says his son did not receive any special treatment from the judge. He says the fallout from the sentence has left his son feeling distraught.
"You still gotta do your sentence. I mean, the judge's hands are tied … that's the best he could do, with part of the plea bargain, perhaps, is accommodate his education," Neurauter said.
So far 40,000 people have signed a petition seeking to have Neurauter expelled from the University of Calgary.
"I really hope that by doing this petition, and getting some action on this, it will show the victims that they do matter, and maybe people will stand beside them," said Kaitlyn Casswell, who started the petition.
The university indicated in a statement that it had been unaware of Neurauter's conviction and would be reviewing his status.