Yellowknife man guilty of sending photo of genitals to teenage girl

Yellowknife Courthouse (CKLB File photo).

In a cautionary tale for parents, a former Yellowknife man has been convicted of a form of child luring after he pleaded guilty to sending a photo of his genitals to a teenage girl on social media.

Ricky Lee Sutherland, 50, a former gymnastics coach in Yellowknife, was in court on Tuesday.

Court heard he sent the photo on Snapchat along with messages to a girl he was coaching at the time.

He reportedly attempted to lure her into sending him explicit photos of herself.

According to an agreed statement of facts, Sutherland sent the photo while he was in Toronto at a coaching clinic in February of 2017.

Court heard that Sutherland said he was intoxicated at the time.

He sent the photo despite being warned by the Yellowknife Gymnastics Club not to have social media relationships with his athletes.

Sutherland was subsequently fired by the club and has reportedly apologized to the victim.

In an emotional victim impact statement read in court by the Crown prosecutor, the girl said she considered Sutherland to be a close friend prior to his actions.

She said she remains traumatized by what happened.

The maximum sentence for the offence is 14 years in prison while the mandatory minimum is one year in jail.

Sutherland is set to constitutionally challenge the mandatory minimum at a hearing July 2nd in Yellowknife, arguing it infringes on his charter rights.

Sutherland, who now lives in Ontario, is to be sentenced July 31st regardless of the outcome of his charter challenge.

In a strange twist of fate, Sutherland and his victim were scheduled to take the same flight out of Yellowknife on Saturday, but the Crown prosecutor says Sutherland has now been booked on a different flight.

Sutherland is also an ex-Municipal Enforcement Division (MED) officer, also known as “bylaw” in Yellowknife.

He was not a bylaw officer when the photo was sent.

The department however has a history of inappropriate behaviour by some of its officers and a manager.

About the Author

John McFadden
John has been in the broadcast journalism industry since the 1980s. He has been a reporter in Yellowknife since 2012 and joined CKLB in January of 2018. John covers the crime and court beat as well as reporting on other areas including politics, business, entertainment and sports. He won seven national community newspaper awards while he was a journalist with Northern News Services Limited (NNSL). John worked in Ontario before coming North including stints as a TV sportscaster in Peterborough and senior news writer for CBC and CTV in downtown Toronto.