Opinions: Neurauter’s postponed sentence sends mixed signals

UofC student’s postponed sentence sends mixed signals

Judge allows convicted sex criminal to finish semester before serving sentence

LEAH SCHEITEL // COPY EDITOR

Connor Neurauter seems to be blessed with the same luck – or privilege – that Brock Turner has in spades. Neurauter, a student at the University of Calgary and now a convicted sex criminal, is allowed to finish his semester at UofC before serving his 89-day sentence.

The charges against Neurauter aren’t small. He is convicted of “sexual interference” for an incident that occurred three years ago, involving a 13-year-old girl, while the charges of possession of child pornography against him have been stayed. What he is convicted of could mean life-long trauma for his victim – it isn’t a case of petty theft from the local Wal-Mart. He fucked with someone’s life and now is having a hard time understanding that his actions are coming back to do the same to his life.

Neurauter’s father, Chris, said that his son, who was 18 at the time of the incident, is “remorseful” and has “learned his lesson.” But apparently he’s not so remorseful as to take full responsibility for his actions and to accept his sentence. He had the confidence and audacity to ask for special accommodations made so he doesn’t miss any school.

“He’s frustrated that he’s missing school,” the senior Neurauter told CBC News. Okay, he’s frustrated, but his victim is devastated.

What’s so upsetting about the delay in him serving his sentence is while there has been accommodations for Neurauter’s schedule, there seems to be little for what his victim is likely going through. How much school is she missing because she can’t sit in class comfortably without replaying this incident over and over again? How many times is she breaking down because of the heavy news cycle, with sexual misconducts dominating the headlines? And yet, she just has to deal with it and simply get over it.

And what of the UofC? While they have publically said they have no grounds to suspend Neurauter, as the incident happened three years ago, before he was enrolled at the University, they have received ample scrutiny for their lack of action. A petition, which was started the day after his sentencing, has over 45,000 signatures, calling for Neurauter’s expulsion. Sure, the University might not have academic justification to punish Neurauter, but you would think there would be something in their handbook about allowing a convicted sexual offender to walk around campus, attending classes as if he were just any other student.

The victim’s mother, who remains unidentified, claims this isn’t the only privilege her daughter’s assailant has received during the trial. She told CBC News that since the trial began in July 2016, many adjournments and delays were allowed to accommodate Neurauter’s hockey schedule, something his father denies. However, with the court’s decision to allow him to serve his sentence intermittently, it is easier to believe they were willing to bend the rules during the trial as well.

Allowing Neurauter to serve his sentence at a time that is convenient for him is sending the wrong message – that the convict and their lives are more important than the ones they have potentially ruined that – the courts are on the side of educated white men, even if it means they don’t have to take full responsibility for their actions. It’s a dangerous message to send.

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