NANAIMO — A man was sentenced after pleading guilty to a sexual offence against a teenage boy with developmental challenges.
Devon Douglas Schulz, 34, was given 18-months jail followed by two years probation Friday in provincial court in Nanaimo after he admitted to a charge of invitation to sexual touching under 16.
Schulz, a lifelong Nanaimo man with no prior criminal record, will appear on the National Sex Offender Registry for the next 20 years and must provide a DNA sample.
During a joint submission, Court heard Schulz was in a position of trust and began spending time alone with the victim, which included grooming behaviour.
The Crown's Nick Barber said during the final of several sleepovers in May 2018 Schulz asked the boy to pleasure him sexually, which happened.
The victim voiced confusion about the incident and told his mother what happened, Court heard.
Barber said the breach of trust element was particularly disturbing.
“It's such an aggravating factor and means that even though this is maybe more of a lower level of sexual offending it still should be treated more seriously,” Barber said.
There was no evidence Schulz touched the victim sexually.
Schulz was a manager for a group home which provides supportive care to people with developmental disabilities in Nanaimo, including young people.
Schulz's lawyer, Chris Churchill, quelled concerns the Crown had about his client's employment history.
“There's no whiff or hint whatsoever that there was any other issue around his professional work, there's just not,” Churchill said.
He said Schulz can not return to his previous line of work upon his release and will have to seek new work opportunities.
Churchill cited a psychiatric report referencing Schulz's low-to-moderate risk to re-offend. The report said Schulz acted opportunistically, rather than in a predatory fashion, but that he failed to take full responsibility.
“There's work to do, and he's prepared to put in that hard work. He's prepared to engage in the programming at Ford Mountain (Correctional Centre),” Churchill said.
Schulz, who had several family and friends supporting him in court, addressed judge Ron Lamperson.
Schulz sobbed apologetically as he said he hoped the victim would be able to heal and move forward.
“I'm sorry for my actions and regret the pain I have caused...I have and will continue to work on self-awareness and healing to make sure this will never happen again,” Schulz said.
Barber said a trial would have been a difficult case for the Crown given the victim's deficits, adding Schulz owning up to his crime from the outset was a mitigating factor.
A charge against Schulz of sexual assault was stayed.
Court was told Schulz has undergone sex offender therapy, which is slated to continue long-term.
On Twitter: @reporterholmes
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