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This article was published 5/2/2018 (1116 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A former Manitoba RCMP recruitment officer is serving a three-month jail sentence and must register as a sex offender after he admitted to having sex with a 17-year-old girl.
Michael Adam Timmer, 34, pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation and was sentenced in January to 90 days in jail, to be followed by three years of probation and 10 years as a registered sex offender. He'll have to follow a court-ordered condition that prevents him from being in a position of authority over anyone under 18.
Timmer said he acted in a "moment of weakness."
"This isolated moment of poor judgment has cost me everything. My entire adult life was dedicated to becoming the best police officer I could be," he said during his sentencing hearing.
"With a single lapse of judgment, a moment of weakness, I lost all of that."
Timmer met the teen, a prospective RCMP cadet, during his duties working in recruitment for the Manitoba RCMP. They travelled together with other prospective cadets to the RCMP training depot in Regina for a weeklong summer program in 2014, during which three of the teen girls needed to be transported to hospital and Timmer gave them his personal cellphone number in case of emergency, provincial court Judge Dale Harvey heard.
About a week after the trip in August 2014, then-32-year-old Timmer and the 17-year-old exchanged about 3,500 text messages and had consensual sex at his home. In spring 2015, the girl's parents found out and lodged a complaint against the RCMP.
The Winnipeg Police Service's professional standards unit investigated, culminating in criminal charges against the officer. He resigned in 2016 after six years with the Mounties.
In court, the former officer apologized.
"This situation has cost me my career, my financial stability and, possibly worst of all, my reputation. I've lost so much as a result of my actions, I can only assure you that I've learned from this mistake and have already paid dearly for it. This incident was extremely out of character for me and will never happen again," he told the judge.
Although the sex was consensual — the age of consent in Canada is 16 — the incident was considered a crime because the former officer met the teen in his professional capacity as a police officer. As a recruiter for the force, he gave her advice about pursuing a potential future career as a police officer.
The teen was reluctant to talk to the professional standards unit during its investigation, but she eventually gave a full statement. She said she didn't want to see the officer go to jail, Crown attorney Ronald Toews said in court, and she didn't submit a victim-impact statement.
"She impressed me as someone who was articulate and courageous in coming forward with the disclosure. She exposed herself and sacrificed a good deal of her privacy of some of the most intimate parts of her life, not only to police but as part of the investigation process," Toews said.
"I would applaud her courage in coming forward."
Ninety days is the mandatory minimum sentence for sexual exploitation, and Harvey imposed the sentence based on a joint recommendation from the Crown and defence lawyer Hymie Weinstein. The judge said he would've liked to hear from the young woman directly to get a better idea of how she's doing.
"It's just difficult to imagine you having allowed to let this happen," he told Timmer.
"I'm sure you never dreamed to be in this position. I certainly don't like being in this position in cases like this, but I wish you all the best when you're out," Harvey said.
Katie May reports on courts, crime and justice for the Free Press.