Riders GM Tillman won't have criminal record
Absolute discharge for CFL exec who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting teen
Saskatchewan Roughriders general manager Eric Tillman will not have a criminal record after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a teenage girl.
Regina provincial court Judge Murray Hinds on Tuesday granted Tillman an absolute discharge a day after the member of the CFL team's executive entered his guilty plea.
"I am of the view that Mr. Tillman's behaviour was out of character for him and that no further steps are required to deter or rehabilitate Mr. Tillman or to protect society," Hinds said.
The sentence means Tillman won't have a criminal record and will have no further obligations to the court.
On Monday, the court was told the victim was a 16-year-old who had been babysitting Tillman's two young children on Aug. 6, 2008.
Tillman came home early from a Riders board meeting after some colleagues said he was acting "loopy," said his lawyer, Aaron Fox.
When the girl bent over to feed one of the children, Tillman grabbed her by the hips from behind and used her belt loops to pull her toward him, Crown prosecutor Bill Burge said.
There was "physical contact of a sexual nature," Hinds said.
Fox said Tillman had taken a double dose of sleeping pills and muscle relaxants, which caused him to have no memory of the incident.
Tillman took full responsibility and said he apologized to the girl.
The defence, noting it was a first offence and that the Crown was proceeding with the case as a less-serious summary offence, had asked for an absolute discharge.
The Riders organization said Monday it has relieved Tillman of his day-to-day duties until the board can meet to decide his fate with the team. The board next meets on Wednesday.
For years, the 52-year-old has been a high-profile figure in football-crazy Saskatchewan.
Reaction to his guilty plea has been mixed. Some people say he should keep his job while others would like to see him fired.
Outside court, Tillman wept as he spoke with reporters.
He said he's spent the last year working for the Riders from inside his house, leaving only on rare occasions, and that he hoped he could keep his job with the team.
He expressed concern for the victim, saying, "This has not been easy for her and her family."
It's also been a difficult time for his own family, Tillman said, including one "unbelievably unfortunate" incident at a football game his wife attended where someone in the stands referred to him as a "rapist."
People convicted of sex offences are often required to submit a DNA sample to a national database.
However, because Tillman's privacy and security concerns outweigh the public interest in having such a sample, there will be no such order, Hinds said.