Special accommodations are reportedly being made for Connor Neurauter, a 21-year-old Canadian who has pleaded guilty to soliciting nude photos from a 13-year-old girl. Neurauter was sentenced to 90 days in jail, but he won't have to serve until May — so as not to disrupt his semester at school.
According to Newsweek, Neurauter has also already received special treatment during the trial: A 2016 court date for an additional charge of child pornography had been adjourned so he could participate in a hockey camp with his team.
A Vice report explained that Neurauter had allegedly been abusive toward the girl. At one point, he reportedly choked her and then intimidated her into sending nude photos over text and Snapchat. A friend of the victim attempted to appease him by sending him pictures of herself instead. Eventually, the friend told her mother, who reported the situation to the police.
“I was very scared because he knew where I lived and knew where my room was,” said the victim in court testimony.
The victim's mother, noticing a trend in the lenient treatment of Neurauter, has spoken up.
“‘Sorry, he’s unavailable for court because he has a hockey tournament. He’s unavailable for court because he has exams. He’s unavailable to come do his plea on his own because he’s in the middle of studying’,” she said. “Let’s postpone his jail sentence until May so he can finish his year of university. Nobody has stood up and said no, during the whole thing—there was not one time where the judge or even the Crown said ‘please, this is not right.’ The victims are the ones who have been paying over and over, every time we went to court.”
Vice noted this case seems to be part of a trend in which courts are lenient toward young men (many of whom are athletes) who are guilty of committing crimes against women. The case of Brock Turner similarly sparked national outrage over this very issue.
“I’m sure it took a lot for her to come forward, a lot,” said Barb Macquarrie, community director at Western University's Centre for Research and Education on Violence against Women and Children, of the victim. “She got very minimal validation from the system. It’s almost as if the system is apologizing to the offender.”
In reference to the alleged choking, she noted, “We’re potentially missing some warning signs of somebody who could become a much more dangerous offender.”
According to Vice, Macquarrie expressed she was "skeptical that non-athletes and men of colour would be treated with the same leniency as offenders like Neurauter[.]"
Meanwhile, Neurauter's sentence, which will begin on May 4, will include two years of probation.
Neurauter will also be forced to register as a sex offender, which includes the submission of his DNA into a national database.