WINNIPEG—A Manitoba school trustee has pleaded guilty to trying to entice who he thought was a 13-year-old girl into a sexual relationship.
Norbert Van Deynze, who is 61, pleaded guilty in a Morden courtroom to a charge of Internet luring just as his preliminary hearing was set to begin.
The Winnipeg Free Press got a transcript of the sentencing hearing.
A police officer posing as a teen engaged in a series of explicit chats with Van Deynze between October 2011 and May 2012.
Court was told the officer repeatedly stated her fictional age so there was no confusion as to who the accused thought he was talking to.
Crown attorney Lee Turner was seeking 18 months of custody, but the judge noted Van Deynze’s lack of a criminal record and a finding that deems him a low-risk to reoffend and gave him a 12-month conditional sentence.
Judge Mary Kate Harvie also place him on one year of supervised probation and banned him from having computer access and being alone with anyone under 16.
“It’s totally and absolutely out of character,” defence lawyer Richard Wolson told court.
Van Deynze had been a trustee with the Prairie Spirit School Division for 16 years but resigned within days of his arrest.
Wolson described Van Deynze as an otherwise model citizen who runs a successful family farming business, operates the local curling club, does countless community work and is a weekly church volunteer.
“This is a man who has done everything right for his whole life,” said Wolson. “It all came crashing down when he started to use these Internet chat lines.”
His conditions included having no computer access and not being alone with anyone under the age of 16.