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A former police chief in Nova Scotia has been sentenced to 15 months in jail for sexually exploiting a teen for whom he was, as was described in court, like a “father-figure.”
John Collyer received the sentence at Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Bridgewater on Wednesday after the victim and her mother delivered emotional impact statements.
The former chief of police of the Bridgewater Police Service was found guilty of sexual exploitation and a sexual assault after a trial in 2018 but the sexual assault charge was stayed by Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Mona Lynch based on the principle that an accused cannot be convicted of two offences arising from the same actions.
Sexual exploitation involves the sexual touching of a minor by a person in a position of trust or authority.
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The defence and Crown had submitted a joint recommendation for a 15-month jail sentence with a one-year period of probation upon release, which was accepted by Lynch on Wednesday.
Collyer will also be subject to other conditions, including abstaining from alcohol, being banned from having firearms and registering as a sexual offender.
Lynch recommended that Collyer serve the sentence in protective custody but the decision rests with the facility where he’ll be incarcerated.
Collyer was the head of the Bridgewater police in 2016 when he began grooming the youth for a sexual relationship.
The identity of the complainant is protected under a publication ban.
The complainant told the court that she initially brushed off Collyer’s inappropriate comments to her because she had a close relationship with Collyer and his wife, Sheri.
The couple had spent a great deal of time with the complainant’s family, offering them emotional and financial support. Collyer also took the youth to appointments, on shopping trips and sometimes to a beach near his home.
The Crown argued during the trial that Collyer’s relationship with the girl changed as she got older, developing into a sexual interest that he expressed through online conversations.
Collyer would later sexually assault her in his car.
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