Rehtaeh Parsons: Man who shared explicit photo before death of girl walks free from charge

The man also faces separate charges of assault and making death threats

A man has walked free from court after he was convicted of sharing a sexually explicit image of himself with a 15-year-old girl who then killed herself after being bullied over it.

The man, 20, who remains anonymous under Canadian law as he was 17 at the time, is the second person convicted of distributing child pornography charges after spreading a photo via text message of Rehtaeh Parsons, who committed suicide in April 2013 after being tormented by those who viewed the image.

He admitted to sharing the picture of himself and the girl, that was taken during a small house party at his home in November 2011, and was given 12 months probation by a court in Nova Scotia. He also faces separate charges of assault and making death threats.

Parsons, who was attempting to throw up out of a window at the time the photo was taken, while the teenage boy was having sex with her and holding his thumb up to the camera while another teenager took the picture, according to Herald News.

Judge Gregory Lenehan said Parsons, who was 17 at the time of her death, did not know the photo was being taken and did not give consent for it to be shared.

He told the man in court, according to CBC News: “This was a vile crime, the consequences were tragic; they were the worst possible.”

He added that the photo was a “gross violation of the personal integrity of Parsons” and that the man had shown “utter contempt” for her by using her in her vulnerable state as “no more than a prop for his enjoyment.”

Another 20-year-old man charged in the case, whose identity is also protected, was given a conditional discharge in November after he pleaded guilty to making child pornography by taking the photo of the accused.

The man said that he did not expect the photo to be shared among people. The pre-sentence report says the man cried when he learned Parsons had been taken off a life-support machine after she slipped into a coma due to a suicide attempt.

“You certainly should have,” the judge said, “but you should have been crying while she was alive.”

The girl's identity was protected by a statutory publication ban but her parents pushed to have her name released, saying they wanted her story and her name to be shared widely.

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