Okanagan gymnastics coach sentenced for possession of ‘obscene material’

Chad McDowell previously faced three counts related to child pornography

A former North Okanagan gymnastics coach previously facing charges of child pornography will spend the next six months under a conditional sentence order.

Chad McDowell, 43, was handed the sentence by Judge Mark Takahashi in Vernon provincial court Friday, March 8. Originally facing charges of possession of child pornography, accessing child pornography and importing or distributing child pornography, McDowell pleaded guilty to, and was sentenced for, one count of possession of obscene material for the purpose of circulation.

“There is no suggestion from any parent or child that he had been coaching gymnastics with, and the police did interview a number of them, that he had ever touched one of the children inappropriately or acted in a sexually inappropriate way to any of the children,” defence counsel Julian van der Walle said. “He is extremely remorseful. He has abided by his bail conditions almost religiously.”

An online investigation into suspected was launched June 6, 2017, by the B.C. Integrated Child Exploitation Unit, into the possible possession of obscene materials. A search warrant of McDowell’s residence on June 16, 2017, resulted in the seizure of several electronic devices.

“Files consistent with the user of the iPad and iPhone accessing child pornography were found on the iPad and iPhone,” said Crown prosecutor Brock Bellrichard.

Related: Resolution found for former North Okanagan gymnastics coach facing child pornography charges

Related: North Okanagan gymnastics coach awaits move to provincial court

McDowell, van der Walle said, suffered an accident as a child that caused “intellectual deficits” likely to be permanent. This accident caused McDowell to suffer from regular seizures at a young age and impacted his ability to socialize with other children. He also suffers from recurring pain as a result of the accident.

“Since the accident when he was six-years-old, he basically, his entire life, had a very hard time socializing with people and getting to know them in a more meaningful way beyond merely just being superficial,” van der Walle said.

Shortly after his high school graduation, McDowell began teaching gymnastics. McDowell came to Vernon from Canmore in 2011 as a coach and continued that career until his arrest.

“Since his arrest, my client has taken steps to rectify things. He is deeply remorseful for what he was doing. My client advises that he was suicidal after the arrest.”

As a result, McDowell has spent more than 100 hours in counselling and is no longer suicidal, van der Walle said.

The circulation portion of the charge, van der Walle said, comes from the documents being in a shared folder on McDowell’s devices.

Other mitigating factors include McDowell’s guilty plea to the lesser charge that saved the Supreme Court a two-week trial. The defence also has a strong charter argument involving several breach allegations that could have resulted in some of the evidence being excluded, van der Walle said.

Related: Gymnastics coach facing child pornography charges

In addition to the six-month conditional sentence, the joint-submission sought a three-year probation order and 10-year common law peace bond, under which McDowell cannot be in possession of any device capable of using any internet browser or any device capable of facilitating access to the World Wide Web, among other restrictions.

The Crown entered a stay of proceedings on the charges of possession of child pornography, accessing child pornography and importing or distributing child pornography.



parker.crook@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Revelstoke City Council to look at updating Development Cost Charge Bylaw

City staff have been asked to present a plan on how to proceed

Revelstoke nordic skier travels to Russia for biathlon

Tayla Koerber skied for Team Canada at the international event

Avalanche control planned east of Revelstoke this afternoon

Highway 1 will be closed intermittently between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Revelstoke students raise funds for Women’s Shelter Society

The Me to We club at Columbia Park Elementary hosted a movie night

Temperatures on the rise for the Okanagan Valley

Okanagan-Shuswap weekday weather update

No injuries, pollution in Vancouver Harbour ship collision: Transport Canada

Transportation Safety Board says it has deployed a team of investigators look into the incident

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

Kelowna DJs organize own shows to fill gap in music scene

The DJs wanted to create somewhere people could enjoy their music safely

In Photos: Classic snowmobiles pushed to their limits in fun races

The Burner in Malakwa served as the venue for races show cases older sleds

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

Okanagan organization helps provide water for all in Nepal

Presentation shares success of project at Okanagan Science Centre March 27

Most Read