B.C. teacher who sexually exploited student caused 'significant emotional and psychological harm,' says Crown
Bradley Furman had sex with student more than 10 times in a classroom at Mount Boucherie Secondary School
A West Kelowna, B.C., teacher "manipulated and psychologically coerced" a student into having a secret sexual relationship with him that continued after his arrest ,despite a no contact order imposed by the court, a Crown lawyer said Thursday at the teacher's sentencing hearing.
Bradley Furman, 30, was arrested in 2018 after school administrators at Mount Boucherie Secondary School found out about the relationship with a 17-year-old student at the school.
He pleaded guilty to charges of sexual exploitation, attempting to pervert justice and three counts of breaching bail conditions earlier this year.
At a sentencing hearing this week, Crown lawyer David Grabavac explained how the relationship developed when the teen joined a Dungeons and Dragons club Furman had started at the school.
'Not a momentary lapse of judgment'
They started communicating on social media platforms, eventually exchanging thousands of messages, Grabavac said.
Furman made compliments about the teen's appearance and shared details of his troubled marriage.
Eventually, he was asking the teen to send nude photographs to him.
Around the time of spring break, the relationship developed rapidly into a sexual one to the point where Furman was having sexual intercourse and oral sex with the teen on more than 10 occasions on school grounds in portable classrooms, as well as once at his home.
"[Furman] knew she was a vulnerable person ... this was not a momentary lapse of judgment," said Grabavac who is seeking a prison sentence of nearly six years.
Furman's lawyer told reporters she will be asking for a significantly lighter sentence.
After his arrest, Furman disobeyed bail conditions and continued to contact his victim and meet her for sex over a period of 13 months, according to Grabavac, who said Furman was arrested four times for breaking court orders.
'Significant emotional and psychological harm'
The teen eventually broke off the relationship earlier this year and is now in a fragile state, Grabavac said.
"[The victim] has had significant emotional and psychological harm done to her," he said.
"She is trying to hurt herself. She is still a young person, but it is something that can be very devastating."
The crimes also heavily impacted the school community, said Grabavac, adding students, teachers and the school administration were all impacted.
'Immature style of responsibility'
Furman presented as a person less socially mature than other adults of his age, said Dr. Matthew Burnett when testifying about the pre-sentence psychological report he authored.
Burnett said Furman was drawn to vulnerable students and outcasts and found it easier to forge friendships with adolescents than adults.
He created a space for them, accepted rides from them and encouraged students to communicate with him through social media channels, Burnett said, adding that there weren't clearly defined boundaries a typical teacher would have set.
Burnett told court Furman showed "an immature style of responsibility" and didn't have a mature understanding between his behaviours and the consequences of his actions.
A date to continue the sentencing hearing will be set on Friday, with the judge's decision expected sometime next year.