Student's assault sentencing delayed to not interfere with internship

The 22-year-old is a business student at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.
The 22-year-old is a business student at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Photo credit: Getty

A Canadian business student convicted of assaulting a teenage girl had his sentencing delayed so it wouldn't interfere with his summer internship.

Chance Macdonald, 22, pleaded guilty to common assault in April after an incident at a 2015 party in Kingston, Ontario.

A hockey player and business student at Queen's University, Macdonald was initially charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement.

Macdonald's lawyer argued that the loss of his paid internship would financially impact her client's ability to continue his education.

Justice Allan Letourneau sided with the defence and waited until last week, the end of the Canadian summer, to formally sentence Macdonald to 88 days of intermittent jail on weekends and two years of probation.

The house party in question took place in Queen's student district, and included an "initiation ceremony that includes getting the junior players laid", according to Crown attorney Gerard Laarhuis.

A 16-year-old girl who attended the party said she was repeatedly asked to participate in a threesome by other male guests, including Macdonald. 

At one point Macdonald allegedly forced the girl into lying down and tried to kiss her while she fought him off. The lights were then turned off and the girl said someone grabbed her breasts under her shirt, while someone else she believed to be Macdonald pulled down her pants and groped her, reported the Kingston Whig-Standard.

Another male allegedly pulled out his penis and asked the girl for oral sex while she was trapped under the six foot three Macdonald.

After someone turned on the lights and stopped the assault, the girl and her friend locked themselves in a bathroom. She said Macdonald then walked in and forcibly kissed her friend.

Justice Letourneau, who also played hockey and studied at Queen's, praised Macdonald's excellence "in employment, in athletics, and in academics" during the proceedings.

He told Macdonald he had confidence that "you will almost certainly never put yourself in this situation again," and described the assault as a "fork in the road."

Barb MacQuarrie, community director at Western University's Centre for Research and Education on Violence against Women and Children, told VICE the judge's decision to delay Macdonald's sentencing "smacks of an old boy's club."

"Somebody with a different background who the judge didn't relate to, I can't imagine that kind of leniency or consideration," she said.

"There's a lot of white male privilege at play".

An online petition calling for Justice Letourneau's removal from the bench has almost 10,000 signatures.

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