Sex offender will be escorted off campus, University of Calgary says


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In November, 21-year-old Connor Neurauter pleaded guilty in a Kamloops court to one count of sexual interference with a minor. Neurauter started serving his sentence on January 4., but was allowed to interrupt the sentence to finish up the school year.

More than 50,000 people have signed an online petition calling on the university to expel Neurauter.

University Provost Dru Marshall said the situation is complicated and hard, but the crime took place before Neurauter was enrolled as a student.

The school's policy on sexual violence says students and staff "alleged to have perpetrated sexual violence may be subject to the University's administrative processes and discipline systems in addition to the civil or criminal legal system".

"We recognize that the University of Calgary was not aware of Neurauter's delayed sentence and that they were not at fault in this injustice", the group said in a statement to the Gauntlet student newspaper.

"In a egregious move by the courts, his sentence has been postponed until May so Neurauter can finish this semester at the University of Calgary", reads the petition.

"There were a number of safety concerns that we took into account in our decision", she said Friday."We know that victims of sexual violence ... may have been triggered by this incident and we were also anxious about his safety, given some of the commentary on social media". Much of the case is covered by a publication ban, but it's known that the incident involved nude photos of a 13-year-old girl when Neurauter was 18. Another charge of possessing child pornography was later dismissed.

As for any threats provoked by the controversy, Marshall said, "there have been discussions on social media, but there have been no direct threats the university has seen".

Kaitlyn Casswell started an online petition to expel Neurauter from the university.

The mother of the victim supports the petition and she believes the judge gave special treatment to Neurauter.

His mother, Susan Neurauter, said the university asked him to stay off campus, in part for his own safety.

"We can't be swayed necessarily by public opinion", said Marshall.

Ahead of the decision from U of C, an expert who works with survivors of sexual violence said the judge's decision sends a message that victims may not be taken seriously.

"He made the decision to go to school well after this had taken place just in effort to get his life on track".

U of C student and former sex assault victim Mandy Gillis said she's alarmed that the university is allowing a convicted sex offender to finish his studies on campus.

In a country with a reporting rate of six per cent when it comes to sex crimes, stories like Neurauter's may discourage more from coming forward, she said.

"He's very remorseful ... he's learned his lesson", Neurauter added. He didn't rape anyone. She said many adjournments and delays were granted to Neurauter to adjust his hockey and school schedules. He's gone to counselling.

"We're now working with Connor to discuss how he might do that", said Marshall.

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