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Northern BC man to serve jail time for child pornography

Tyler George Joseph Harroff, 21, will serve two concurrent eight-month jail sentences for recording and sharing videos on Snapchat of a minor being sexually assaulted.
The Fort St. John law courts.

Tyler George Joseph Harroff, 21, was sentenced in Fort St. John Supreme Court on Feb. 22 for recording and sharing videos on Snapchat of a minor being sexually assaulted.

He pleaded guilty last August to making and transmitting child pornography. 

Harroff will serve two concurrent eight-month jail sentences, one for each offence, in addition to 18 months of probation to follow, a DNA order, and $400 in victim surcharges. He will not be required to register as a sex offender.

At the sentence hearing, Justice Andrew Majawa said Harroff should have been aware of the consequences of filming the videos and sharing them on social media. 

“It is important to recognize that the videos themselves have significantly and permanently harmed [the victim] separate and apart from the harm caused by the sexual assault,” said Majwa. “It is well understood that once a video or image is shared electronically, they exist forever and its dissemination cannot be controlled.”

However, Majawa noted Harroff's motives differed from the typical pedophilic offender and believes they aren't likely to re-offend. No letters of support were provided by family, friends, or employers as part of his defence, though Harroff did express remorse for his actions, court heard. 

Even if the videos never resurface to re-traumatize the victim, the fact they could is a circumstance the victim will have to live with for the rest of their life, explained Majawa.

“The effect of the uncertainty [they] must live with, and the possibility of experiencing such re-traumatization or humiliation should not be overlooked nor underappreciated,” Majawa said. 

The victim was only 13 years old, and Harroff told court they didn't know the victim's age before or during a Nov. 7, 2020 house party where the offences took place, with Harroff believing the victim to be 17 or 18. Harroff also denied the videos were recorded for a sexual purpose, court heard, and found out the victim's real age two or three weeks later. 

Harroff was 18 years old at the time of the offences, and sent the videos to a number of friends, recording Anthony Jacob Dean Collins and another 17-year old male having sex with the victim, court heard.  

Collins was sentenced to three years in jail for sexual assault on Jul. 20, 2023, and has been registered as a sex offender for 20 years. Collins was 20 at the time of the assault.  

Born and raised in Chetwynd, Harroff had met up with Collins and others at a restaurant in Fort St. John, before the group purchased alcohol and left to attend a residence, which turned into a house party, court heard. 

The victim had met Collins through Snapchat before travelling to Fort St. John to meet in person, with Collins telling them to lie about their age, asking them to pretend to be 16. 

During previous proceedings, Harroff told court he recorded the assault because he saw other people were laughing and believed it was funny at the time, sharing the videos as part of an inside joke. 

"The description of those videos in the agreed statement of facts leaves no doubt that they are graphic, and disturbing," said Majawa. 

The victim read an impactment statement during previous proceedings on how the recording and distribution of the videos have affected them, explained Majawa, noting the victim told the court they've experienced a great deal of pain, sadness, anger, grief, and humiliation over the incident. 

The victim has had difficulty attending school in the years afterwards, Majawa noted, and told court that their life "went to hell" after the incident, largely due to the videos. 

During Collins’ sentencing in July 2023,  Justice Anita Chan commended the victim for their strength in coming forward. 

“Parliament has recognized the seriousness of sexual offences against children, making this a statutory aggravating factor,” wrote Chan. “The recording of the sexual assault and the sharing of the videos on social media perpetuates the harm inflicted.”

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story noted the sentences would be served consecutively, they are to be served concurrently. We regret the error.