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This article was published 21/1/2016 (1636 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A former Winnipeg high school gym teacher has been sentenced to four years in prison for sexually exploiting a female student.
Shane Vanveen, 34, appeared in court Thursday after pleading guilty to crimes involving a 17-year-old girl at a Winnipeg school in 2013. He was sentenced under a joint-recommendation from Crown and defence lawyers.
"The community needs to know (the victim) did nothing wrong. This was not an affair. This was not a consensual relationship. By law, she could not consent to this relationship," prosecutor Debbie Buors told court.
Over the course of several months, Vanveen sent explicit photos, videos and text messages to the teen while also having sex with her. The obvious breach of trust in a teacher-student relationship made this illegal. The Free Press is not naming the specific school to avoid potentially identifying the victim, whose name is covered by a publication ban.
"It’s the Crown’s position this was clearly grooming behaviour," said Buors. "He got close to her family to gain access to her. There were multiple occasions of sexual interaction and sexual assaults."
School officials were concerned about Vanveen’s conduct with the student and had warned him on at least six prior occasions not to be alone with the girl, court was told. Rumours began circulating within the school and church community about what was happening, and it was community members who ultimately exposed the relationship and contacted police. Vanveen was immediately fired.
"These crimes have torn my heart apart and made me feel like the worst father in the world," the victim’s father said in an impact statement read aloud b the Crown on Thursday. "I was not able to protect my little girl."
The victim sat in the front row of the courtroom, beside her parents, but did not provide an impact statement.
"I blamed myself for not being a good enough mother. How could I have missed seeing this?" her mother wrote.
Defence lawyer Richard Wolson said this was completely out-of-character for his client, who is a married father of four young children. Vanveen’s wife continues to stick by his side and was in court Thursday. The Crown said the woman has actually tried to blame the teen victim for what happened.
"I am sorry for everything I’ve done to the victim and her family. I am sorry for everything I’ve brought on my family, the school, the church, the community," Vanveen said Thursday when given a chance to address the court.
He has been free on bail since his arrest, but was taken away by sheriff’s officers to begin serving his sentence. Crown and defence lawyers said a four-year prison term is the typical range for a major sexual assault and breach of trust situation.
Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.
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