crimesider

No jail for Canadian man over photo of alleged sex assault

Rehtaeh Parsons
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HALIFAX, Nova Scotia -- A young Canadian man won't serve jail time after pleading guilty to taking a photo of an alleged 2011 sexual assault, a case that's drawn outrage across Canada and globally, reports the BBC.

The family of the victim, 17-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons, said the Novia Scotia girl was tormented for months after a digital photo of the alleged November, 2011 gang rape was circulated around her school.

In April 2013, Parsons attempted suicide at her home, and later died after being taken off life support, according to news reports.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police initially said there weren't enough grounds to lay charges after consulting with Novia Scotia's Public Prosecution Service, but re-opened the investigation a week after Parson's death, saying someone stepped forward with new information.

Two teens were arrested in the case in August of 2013. One was charged with two counts of distributing child pornography, and the other was charged with making and distributing child pornography.

Now 20, the man who was charged with making child pornography hasn't been identified because he was 17 at the time of the incident. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced Thursday to a conditional discharge, including 12 months of seeing a probation officer, reports the BBC.

On Thursday, Judge Gregory Lenehan reportedly the act shown in the photo was "vile."

"You did in a few seconds set in motion a series of events that led to a great deal of shame, humiliation, anger, despair, anguish, loss, hurt and destruction," Lenehan told the man, reports the BBC.

The Canadian media has been banned from publishing Parson's name because she is an alleged victim of child pornography, reports the BBC. Citizens, journalists and Parsons' family have taken to social media to protest the ruling, using the hashtags, #youknowhername and #rehtaehparsonsishername.

Many have also protested the man's sentence. However, in a posting on a memorial Facebook page, Parsons' mother said the judge "understood the many layers of suffering Rehtaeh endured."

"When I ask myself what would justice look like for me to make this right? There is nothing that will bring my daughter back," she wrote. "I can't go back in time so what is justice? A jail cell? What would jail do to help the situation? We need to pray for that male that he becomes the type of person the judge hoped he would become."