Ex-teacher in sex case gets day parole
A former Kitchener public school teacher who had sex multiple times with a 15-year-old girl and later exchanged sexual texts with a 16year-old girl has been granted day parole after serving less than half of his two-year prison sentence.
In making its decision earlier this month, the Parole Board of Canada said it was concerned about Michael Sperling’s attempt to minimize his crimes but concluded he accepts what he did was wrong.
Sperling, 36, pleaded guilty last September to sexual interference and luring a child. He was sentenced on Oct. 31.
Sperling, who taught at Sandhills Public School in Kitchener, was suspended after the charges were laid, court was told. He knew the girl was 15, below the age of consent. She was not a student at Sandhills.
Although the board granted day parole for six months, it rejected full parole. Day parole is designed to prepare an offender for full parole. Sperling will live in a community-based residential facility.
“We discussed your offending and you indicated that while you knew one victim was only 15, your sexual needs and desires overwhelmed any sense of moral or legal responsibility,” the board wrote in its decision.
“You claimed that while you knew what you were doing was wrong, you were able to justify your behaviour which allowed you to continue.”
The board said Sperling tried to minimize his level of responsibility.
“You suggested that sexual contact … was unavoidable and initiated by the victim. When challenged on both these comments, you conceded your depictions did minimize your behaviour and could be seen as not being accountable. You still appear to lack the full insight and understanding as to the nature and severity of your offending.”
But the board added Sperling accepts what he did was wrong.
Crown prosecutor Ashley Warne told court Sperling encouraged the 15-year-old girl to send him sexual pictures, which she did.
He sent her naked photos of himself. Later, they had sex several times.
The 15-year-old ended the sexual relationship with Sperling and told her aunt what happened. Later, Sperling and a 16-year-old girl exchanged sexual texts.
In a victim impact statement read out in court, the 15-year-old girl said she often felt sad, numb, empty and disconnected.
She said her self-esteem has been “shattered” and the offences hurt her relationship with her family.
“I just want to feel whole again,” she said. “I don’t want to feel the pain I feel every time I hear (his) name.”
The board said Sperling got credit for pleading guilty and has made some progress in prison.
“You have engaged in programming, made significant gains and have developed some tools and skills to mitigate your risk. You have strong family and community support and have been candid in your disclosure to your spouse as to the degree of your infidelities and sexual offending.”
The board concluded Sperling “will not present an undue risk to society if released on day parole” and said his release “will contribute to the protection of society by facilitating your reintegration into society as a law-abiding citizen.”
Sperling can’t be with children unless accompanied by a responsible adult who knows his criminal history and has been approved in writing by his parole supervisor.
He can have no contact with the victims or their family members.
He must immediately report any intimate relationships and friendships with females.
He can’t access pornography or use a cellphone.