Charges withdrawn against man accused of sexual crimes against children

Three charges of invitation to sexual touching were withdrawn against 21-year-old Shane Penney in December.

Shane Maurice Penney, 21, pleaded guilty to mischief

Shane Penney will spend 18 months on probation, after pleading guilty to mischief. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

The Crown has withdrawn charges against a 21-year-old man, who police said illegally entered a parked camper in Bishop's Falls with children inside.

Three charges of invitation to sexual touching, laid against Shane Penney in May 2017, were withdrawn in December, on the same day that Penney plead guilty to mischief in connection with the incident.

Police originally said that Penney illegally entered the camper with multiple children inside, who were not harmed "thanks to the quick actions of neighbours, parents and police."

Court documents alleged that he asked several children under 16 for "a hug or a kiss."

"We made a determination that the offences … weren't established by all the information we had received," said Crown attorney Tina Walsh.

She said Penney's actions, as recorded by police officers at the time of the incident, did not meet "the standard that we would need to prove that an invitation to sexual touching had taken place."

As a result of Penney's guilty mischief plea, he will be placed on probation for 18 months, with conditions that he stay away from the children involved in the incident, that he report to probation officers and that he attend counselling if directed to do so.