bc-081023-tyler-stephens

Tyler Stephens had women in an area of Kelowna living in fear with his sexual assaults between May and October 2007. ((Okanagan Sun))

A former Kelowna football player was sentenced Monday to five years in prison for a series of sexual assaults in 2007.

Tyler Stephens pleaded guilty in May 2009 to six counts of sexual assault and three counts of sexual assault causing bodily harm.

The court turned down a request from the Crown to have Stephens, 22, declared a dangerous offender. Dangerous offender status allows authorities to keep a convicted individual behind bars for an indefinite period.

The judge agreed to order Stephens to submit to supervision for 10 years after his release from prison and to be listed in the sex offender registry for 20 years.

Stephens wiped tears from his face as B.C. Provincial Court Judge Mark Takahashi read out victim impact statements prior to sentencing from three of the women Stephens assaulted.

Stephens attacked 10 women on 11 different occasions between May and October 2007. Some were sexually attacked on the street, others in their homes.

Dubbed the "Rutland rapist" because many of the assaults occurred in the Rutland area of Kelowna, Stephens often put a bag over his victim's head during an attack.

He was a player with the Okanagan Sun junior football team at the time of the offences.

The judge credited Stephens with 32 months for time served after his conviction, but the five-year sentence handed down Monday is in addtion to that time.

With files from the CBC's Jackie Sharkey