A 21-year-old who was found guilty of sexual interference with a 13-year-old girl will be able to continue attending school and playing hockey before serving his sentence, the CBC reported. After their in-person meetings, he reportedly began asking for nude photos, which he used to threaten her into keeping their relationship a secret.
University Provost Dru Marshall said the situation is complicated and hard, but the crime took place before Neurauter was enrolled as a student.
"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".
By Thursday evening, more than 52,000 people had signed a petition urging the university to expel Neurauter.
But some are saying the punishment is not enough, as a petition has been launched to expel the sophomore.
The school's decision comes after the petition's organizer, Kaitlyn Casswell, called on university leadership to take a strong stand against Neurauter.
Administrators at the University of Calgary say that Connor Neurauter, a student convicted of sexual assault, has been told not to return to the school and will be escorted off the property for his own protection should he try to return.
He said the university does not condone sexual violence or put the rights of convicted felons over the safety of its students - but that's exactly what they are doing by not immediately expelling Neurauter.
The university said in a statement this week that it is "reviewing the situation", but did not respond to questions from BuzzFeed Canada about what, if any, consequences Neurauter could face.More news: Stock Volume in Spotlight: Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)
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Neurauter is a sophomore at the University of Calgary, studying chemistry. "It may keep them from coming forward to report experiences of sexual violence". I was hoping for more.
Neurauter's mother told CTV Calgary she's concerned for her son's safety as he awaits his sentence. "By allowing him to go on with his life normally, finishing up his semester at university, it sends the wrong message to victims of sexual violence", Casswell told the CBC. "I was there", she said.
"To say that I am disappointed... is an understatement", she said.
"He's very upset. He's trying to deal with it and work through it".
"He's very remorseful ... he's learned his lesson", Neurauter added.
Although the victim's mother asserted he was given preferential treatment throughout the trial to fit his busy schedule, Susan said there's nothing unusual about a court allowing an intermittent sentence and her son was not treated differently.
While Marshall acknowledged the outcry over the case, she said it "was really important for us to make a values-based decision".
Marshall wrote that school staff encourage respectful conversation and debate about complex issues, and that situations like Neurauter's challenge everyone to consider all the facts while determining a best course of action.