Dec 09 2005
SEX OFFENCES Kraus sentenced, on registry Former teacher receives 14-months for illegal images
Former teacher George Kraus will be added to the national sex offender registry, after pleading guilty to collecting thousands of pictures of exploited children.
The 60-year-old White Rock resident was given a 14-month sentence, time he'll be allowed to serve in the community under heavy restrictions.
"As a teacher and a person of authority you have betrayed the trust placed in you," Judge Harvey Field told Kraus Tuesday.
"The public, parents and children have good reason to expect more."
Kraus, who spent 13 years teaching at White Rock Elementary before moving to Laronde Elementary in 2003, was arrested in March after police seized 27,000 images from his home computers.
A subscriber of pay-for-porn websites, Kraus used his credit card to finance his fetish.
Though many of the pictures were non-sexualized images of children - not considered child pornography - others were graphic depictions and stories of child rape and molestation.
Kraus told police he didn't believe he was doing wrong by possessing the pictures, and later told a journalist he thought it was OK because the children were all from Russia and Ukraine.
"It's not hurting anyone...they're all overseas," Kraus had said.
The judge cited that comment as an aggravating factor.
"Having time to reflect, he continued in his belief his conduct did not harm children," Field said, adding "he attempted to justify his conduct by speaking to a reporter.
"It is unreasonable to believe he was unaware of how this material affected children."
Kraus' defence had argued it was unfair to place the former teacher on the sex offender registry, saying it would infringe his privacy. Psychological testing has shown he is a low risk to re-offend, and there is no evidence he molested any of his students.
Although he won't spend time behind bars, prosecutor Winston Sayson said Kraus' conditional sentence is still considered jail time in Canadian law.
He said the decision should serve as a warning to anybody who dabbles in child porn.
"The court's decision today makes it very clear, even for first-time offenders, a jail sentence is likely to be imposed," Sayson said outside the courthouse.
n must provide DNA sample;
n placed on national sex offender registry;
n barred for three years from any park, swimming area, day care, school or community centre where children under 14 are present; cannot seek employment or volunteer anywhere he will be in a position of trust over a child; he cannot use a computer to communicate with anyone younger than 14 years;
n 14 month conditional sentence order, during which time he must attend counselling or psychological treatment if recommended, and may not have any computer or electronic storage device at his residence; he can have no contact with children younger than 14 unless the child is in the presence of parent or guardian, he must obey a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, abstain from alcohol and non-prescription drugs and give police access to his residence without notice or warrant;
n 12 months probation (following conditional sentence) with same conditions as CSO, only without curfew and abstention; during this time he must grant police access to his home without a warrant after 24 hours notice.
Kraus resigned his teaching position after his arrest, and plans to resume teaching adult education. He is currently not certified by B.C. College of Teachers.
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