An Abbotsford man attending university in Washington State has been sentenced for making sexual comments online to someone he thought was a 13-year-old girl.
Duane Edward Stewart, 24, was sentenced Monday (Nov. 28) in Washington to one month in jail and 12 months of community custody (time served in the community while under strict monitoring). He was initially charged with communicating with a minor for immoral purposes, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of felony harassment.
Stewart was charged on March 31 of this year. He came to the attention of police after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was notified by a member of the Vancouver Police Department’s vice squad who was posing online as a 13-year-old girl.
Stewart indicated that he was 19 years old and exchanged sexually explicit messages with the girl.
Police traced the IP address of the messages to Stewart’s computer at Western Washington University (WWU) and notified Homeland Security, which, in turn, brought the case to the attention of the university police.
Stewart had been taking general studies at WWU for two years at the time of his arrest. He grew up in Abbotsford, having attended John Maclure Elementary from 1996-2000, and then graduating from W.J. Mouat Secondary, where he played for the Mouat Hawks football team as a centre and defensive tackle.
He competed on the WWU cross-country team as a long-distance runner, but was suspended after he was charged.