Ex-Yellowknife gymnastics coach gets year in jail for sending photo of his private parts to female teen gymnast

Yellowknife Courthouse (CKLB File photo).

A former Yellowknife gymnastics coach has been sentenced to one year in jail after he pleaded guilty to child luring for sending a photo of his private parts to a teenage female gymnast he had once coached.

Ricky Lee Sutherland, 50, who now lives in Ontario, was also placed on the National Sex Offender Registry (SORA) for 20 years when he was sentenced Tuesday morning in Supreme Court in Yellowknife.

The former bylaw officer was convicted in May on what would have been the first day of his trial for sending a sexually explicit photo of himself on Snapchat to one of his gymnasts and requesting she send him explicit photos in return.

His victim was under 18-years-old when Sutherland sent her the photo and messages from Ontario in a failed attempt to lure her into sending him sexually explicit photos of herself.

Sutherland and his lawyer had argued unsuccessfully in court earlier this year that the mandatory minimum sentence for child luring of one year in jail violated his constitutional rights and amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.

A Yellowknife judge ruled the mandatory minimum did not violate his Constitutional rights.

The maximum sentence for child luring in Canada is 14 years in prison.

His lawyer called for a sentence of “three to six to nine months.”

The Crown prosecutor wanted a sentence of 18 months. 

Sutherland must also suppy a sample of his DNA to the national data bank.

Taking into account his pre-trial custody, Sutherland will have just under nine months left to serve.

It’s not the first time someone who worked for bylaw had trouble after issues with females and images.

Doug Gillard was removed as manager of the department in 2018 after an arbitrator ruled it was likely that he had used taxpayer funded closed-circuit security cameras to spy on women he found attractive at the public library.

Despite his transgressions, Gillard still works for the city as manager of the emergency management division, a department that was created in 2018.



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.