No jail for posting Pitt rave photos
A young man who posted to Facebook pornographic photographs taken during a rave in Pitt Meadows will not have a criminal record if he obeys court-ordered conditions for the next 18 months.
Dennis John Allen Warrington received a conditional discharge Monday, and will be required to complete 120 hours of community service in addition to probation.
"His apology showed he has gained some insight into his action," Judge Shehni Doss said as she sentenced the 21-year-old in Port Coquitlam Provincial Court.
Originally charged with more serious offence of possessing and distributing child pornography, Warrington pleaded guilty in December to a lesser count of distributing obscene material for posting three photographs on Facebook.
The photographs were graphic, close-ups of a couple having sexual intercourse – the faces of a girl and boy obscured.
The charges against Warrington stem from a Sept. 10, 2010 party held at a farm on Harris Road, which drew hundreds of teens and young adults.
While Warrington attended the party, he did not witness the incident, which police initially labelled a "gang rape."
A young man took photographs of the 16-year-old girl and an 18-year-old man having sex in a field because he "couldn't believe what was happening."
Those photographs went "viral" as teens shared the images via text messages, email and Facebook.
Warrington posted three photographs to his Facebook page, with a caption asking people to identify the girl.
RCMP held a press conference a week after the rave and begged people to stop sharing the photographs, threatening to charge those who did with distributing child pornography.
Warrington was among three people charged following the rave.
The teen who took the photographs pleaded guilty to distributing obscene material and received probation.
Colton McMorris, the 18-year-old who had sex with the girl that night, was eventually charged with sexual assault. But the charge was stayed a year ago because there was not enough evidence for a conviction. McMorris maintains the sex was consensual, but the girl, who has no recollection of the night, says she did not consent.
Following sentencing, Crown prosecutor Wendy van Tongeren Harvey praised the girl and her family for the courage they have shown throughout the proceedings.
Outside court, the young woman, now 18, was relieved the two-and-a-half-year-long ordeal was over.
“The kid got a second chance,” she said, flanked by her father and surrounded by a crowd of TV cameras and reporters.
“I really hope he learns from what he did, and he puts his second chance to good use, because you don’t get them every day.”
Under the conditions of his probation, Warrington is forbidden from having any contact with the girl and her family. He is not allowed to comment on the case and if he finds out that any friends or acquaintances are harassing the girl and her family online, he must write a letter to them, requesting the bullying to stop. Police are also allowed to check his computer to make sure he is complying with the probation order.
Although the girl's identity is protected by a publication ban, the latter continues to be violated online.
The young woman hopes to put the ordeal behind her. She plans to go to university and pursue a career as a drug and alcohol counsellor.
"It's been hell," she said.
"It's been really tough, and it's still tough today. But you have to pick yourself up off the pavement and move on because you can't delve on it forever. As bad as the situation is, it was a crazy learning experience for me and everybody."