By Gudrun Schultz

  WINNIPEG, Manitoba, February 2, 2007 ( – A 55-year-old cadet official who traded a laptop computer for oral sex from a 15-year-old boy won’t spend time in prison, after a Manitoba judge sentenced him to one year house arrest for the crime.

  Gregory Edward Sutton pleaded guilty to one count of communication for the purpose of juvenile prostitution.  Sutton had spoken with the boy in an online homosexual chat room repeatedly over the course of a month, the Winnipeg Free Press reported. After discussing problems the boy was having with his computer, Sutton said he had an extra laptop. When the boy offered to buy it, Sutton said he would trade it for oral sex.

  The boy went to police after the two met, saying he felt “weirded out” by the situation.

  In sentencing Sutton, Judge Linda Giesbrecht bypassed a recent amendment to the criminal code that requires a minimum sentence of six months in jail for the offence, instead relying on a previous policy that allowed for a conditional sentence. Since Sutton had committed the crime before the amendment was in place, he was eligible for consideration under the old law.

  Judge Giesbrecht justified her decision by saying Sutton was a suitable candidate for a community-based sentence, considering the law at the time, since he had already lost his job, financial security and reputation.

“There is not much more that can happen to you in terms of specific deterrence,” she said.

  She credited Sutton with acknowledging his responsibility for the offence and undergoing counseling, but rejected his request for a period of probation instead of house arrest, saying, ‘this is the kind of case that deserves denunciation.”

  Judge Giesbrecht likened Sutton’s crime to Internet luring, saying he had been “grooming” the boy and had abused his position of authority in the cadets to influence the boy—the two had discussed the boy’s family and emotional problems and his confusion over his sexuality.

 “There was some common ground there. You took advantage of that and you exploited that.” She said the crime was puzzling for a man who had led a “law-abiding and perhaps exemplary life.”

“You committed the offence to satisfy your own morbid curiosity and sexual needs. Why would you do this? If you had a curiosity, why not explore it with someone your own age or an adult?”

  The ‘soft’ sentence of house arrest handed to Sutton is the latest instance of the pervasive trend in the Canadian justice system to avoid any significant sentence for sexual crimes against children, including the possession or viewing of child pornography.

  In another example of lax sentencing, an Edmonton judge ruled in April 2006 that a 32-year-old man was not guilty of an offense after he had explicit sexual conversations with a 12-year-old girl over the internet, since the man had not made plans to meet the girl—although he had spoken with her about having sex and had called her parents’ home.

  Sutton’s house arrest sentence imposes a 24-hour curfew and requires that he not be alone with children, avoid Internet chat sites and undergo a sexual offender assessment.

  To express concerns to the Manitoba Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Dave Chomiak:

  Minister’s Office
  104 Legislative Building
  450 Broadway
  Winnipeg, MB R3C 0V8
  T: 204-945-3728
  F: 204-945-2517
  E-mail: [email protected]

  See related LifeSiteNews coverage:

  Canadian Courts, Schools and Even Military Soft on Sexual Abuse of Children

  More than 10% of Canadians Do Not Believe Pedophilia Immoral

  Alberta Judge Rules Explicit Sex Talk to Children is Legal