The mother of a teenaged girl who was victimized by a University of Calgary student has joined the growing chorus for Connor Neurauter to be expelled from the university.
"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.
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 judge in Kamloops, B.C., allowed Neurauter to complete his university semester before serving his sentence in B.C. He's in his second year and working toward a bachelor of science degree in chemistry.
The B.C. Prosecutions Service said in an email to CBC that the judge allowed Neurauter to serve his sentence intermittently.
"He was ordered to serve the first day on January 4, 2018 and the balance commencing May 4, 2018," said Daniel McLaughlin.
The decision has outraged more than 40,000 people who have signed an online petition as of Thursday morning, calling on the university to expel Neurauter.
"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.
"I think if you commit a crime, you should be held accountable for that," she said.
"By allowing him to go on with his life normally, finishing up his semester at university, it sends the wrong message to victims of sexual violence," Casswell said.
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.
"He's very upset. He's trying to deal with it and work through it. He's frustrated that he's missing school," said Neurauter.
While rejecting claims his son received a break from the judge, Neurauter says his son still has to serve his jail sentence. He'll be on probation for two years and will be added to the country's sex offender registry for the next 10 years.
"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.
Neurauter says his son was advised by his lawyer not to speak to the media — but he's speaking out on his son's behalf.
"He's very remorseful … he's learned his lesson," said Neurauter.
Delays to accommodate hockey and school
The victim's mother says Neurauter was given special treatment by the courts since the charges were laid in July 2016.
She says several adjournments and delays were granted to accommodate Neurauter's hockey and school 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.
Neurauter played junior hockey in several small towns across Canada and did a stint with a team in Sweden. His father says his son wasn't playing hockey when the charges were laid.
The victim's mother says she first heard about the petition to expel Neurauter on Tuesday. She hugged her daughter and told the girl, who is now 16, that her decision to speak out against the abuse has made a difference.
"I said this is because of you, because of you standing up," she said, choking back tears.
University reviewing Neurauter's status
The university says Neurauter hasn't been suspended, but his status is under review.
"We recently became aware that University of Calgary student Connor Neurauter was convicted in British Columbia and given a three-month sentence. The judge made the decision to allow him to complete his current semester at the University of Calgary before beginning to serve his sentence in May," read the statement.
"The university is reviewing the situation. We can confirm that Mr. Neurauter is not on the university campus this week. We will provide further information when it is available."