Nova Scotia

Potvin pressured teen into sexual relationship

A Halifax volleyball coach spent months cajoling, wheedling and trying to guilt a 17-year-old girl into an inappropriate sexual relationship, according to evidence given in court.

A Halifax volleyball coach spent months cajoling, wheedling and trying to guilt a 17-year-old girl into an inappropriate  sexual relationship, according to evidence given in court. 

Luc Potvin, 53,  pleaded guilty in July to four sex charges involving the teen — one count of luring a child over the internet for a sexual purpose, one count each of sexual exploitation of a young person by a position of trust or authority, making child pornography, and sexual assault.

According to evidence given at Potvin's bail hearing, there was almost daily contact over those months between him and the teen, most of it by cell phone or computer.

The girl's father had grown suspicious of the relationship, and one day he used the GPS feature on his daughter's cell phone to track her whereabouts, the court heard. He tracked his daughter and Potvin to Sir Sanford Fleming Park — nowhere near where they were supposed to be.

The father then checked the computer server in his home and he discovered hundreds of emails, text messages and video chats between Potvin and his daughter, according to the evidence.

Those computer files showed Potvin and the girl used MSN chat and the webcams on their computers to talk to each other. Those on-line conversations were sexually explicit and often one, or both of them were nude.

From chatting on-line, things progressed to where Potvin and the girl had direct sexual contact.

The father had evidence of all this, the video chats, the emails and Facebook recorded on his server.  He made copies, and handed it all to police.

When Potvin was arrested, and brought in for interrogation, he knew the jig was up. 

In a portion of that interrogation played in court,  Potvin told police: "I'm screwed no matter what I say. I don't think you need me to confirm what you have already."

The court also heard about text messages. In one exchange, the girl was so agitated by the constant pressure from Potvin, she had threatened in a text to stab herself in the throat.

Potvin replied: "Even if I stop touching you, you have a serious problem and need to see a doctor."

"He knew what he was doing.  He took advantage of the situation and we know that he committed an egregious criminal offence.  And it's as simple as that from the Crown's perspective," Crown attorney Rick Hartlen said.

At Potvin's sentencing hearing Wednesday, the teenager gave a victim impact statement in court. In a clear but shaky voice, she described how the assault on her has destroyed her world.

"I felt I was losing control of everything in my whole life," she said.

She described how Potvin destroyed her confidence, caused depression and brought on an eating disorder.

Potvin is free until his sentencing on Sept. 30.

But the Crown alleges Potvin has not been abiding by all the strict conditions of his release.  So he's now under another police investigation. 

The Crown won't say what these new allegations are, other than that they do not involve the 17-year-old girl.