A 22-year-old Iqaluit taxi driver has been sentenced to 18 months in jail after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting three young boys.

Cody Rennie admitted that he fondled three boys in his taxi in 2009. He also attempted to sexually assault an eight-year-old in the back seat of the cab while two friends played outside the car.

After that incident, Rennie felt guilty and gave the boys $40 to $50 each, court has heard.

The prosecutor asked for Rennie to be sentenced to 2½ years in jail.

Rennie's lawyer, Scott Wheildon, asked for 18 months, arguing that rehabilitation should be the goal in order to break the chain of sexualized violence.

In his sentencing decision, Justice Neil Sharkey said he believes Rennie's crimes were opportunistic, the product of someone who had himself been sexually abused at a young age.

Sharkey agreed that Rennie — a high-school graduate with only one conditional discharge on his record — has a strong potential for rehabilitation.

In addition to the jail term, Rennie was sentenced to three years of probation and 100 hours of community service work.