US & Canada

Sex offender's sentence delayed so he can finish university

Connor Neurauter Image copyright Facebook
Image caption The victim said that at one point, Neurauter choked her before giving her a bra as a present

A student convicted of sexually exploiting a 13-year-old could return to campus after a judge delayed his sentence so he could finish college.

More than 40,000 people have signed an online petition calling on the University of Calgary, in Alberta, Canada, to expel Connor Neurauter, 21.

The junior hockey player pleaded guilty in 2017 to sexual interference of a 13-year-old girl when he was 18.

He faces 89 days in jail to begin in May once the academic term ends.

The University of Calgary said it is reviewing Neurauter's status.

"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," Kaitlyn Casswell, who started the petition, told the CBC.

Neurauter was an accomplished athlete who played hockey across Canada and in Sweden.

He is in his second year of a bachelor's of science degree in chemistry.

During his sentencing, the court heard how he had solicited nude photos from the girl after the two began a brief sexual relationship that did not involve intercourse.

The girl said that at one point, he choked her before giving her a bra as a present.

He then threatened to release the nude photos to her family if she did not keep their relationship a secret.

The girl's identity is under a publication ban.

The victim's mother supports the petition to expel Neurauter and told her daughter she is proud of her for coming forward.

"I said this is because of you, because of you standing up," she told CBC.

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