Bradley Furman’s sentencing hearing is ongoing. (File)

Bradley Furman’s sentencing hearing is ongoing. (File)

‘Not things most teachers would do’: Psychologist says Furman had poor teacher-student boundaries

Dr. Matthew Burnett described Furman’s interactional style as juvenile

Bradley Furman showed emotion during the second day of his sentencing proceedings today as a clinical psychologist spoke about a pre-sentence report submitted to the court.

Furman, who is in the midst of a sentencing hearing for sexually exploiting his former student, asked the sheriff to bring some tissues to the prisoner’s box as Dr. Matthew Burnett described Furman as having “poor teacher-student boundaries.”

READ MORE: ‘I hate you’: Student tells former West Kelowna teacher who sexually exploited her

According to Burnett, who was being questioned by Crown counsellor David Grabavac, Furman accepted rides from adolescent girls and added them on social media outlets such as Snapchat.

“These are not things most teachers would do,” said Burnett.

He continued by describing Furman’s interactional style as juvenile and saying there was an air of naivety to his demeanour throughout their interviews.

“Furman presents as somewhat less emotionally mature than most his age,” he said.

“There was a disparity between his then circumstances and his attitude. He was very positive in his presentation.”

Throughout the interviews, Furman said he could be himself when he was with adolescents, while he couldn’t with adults.

“Emotional congruence with those age brackets shows risk of sexually offending and reoffending,” said Burnett.

Furman expressed his favouritism to “nerdy, outcast and vulnerable students,” in interviews with Burnett, saying he felt good helping them out and considered some of them more of a friend than a student.

Furman’s immaturity, Burnett said, is what led to several breaches of bail conditions. Furman saw the conditions as unfitting and chose to ignore them.

“He showed a shallow understanding of how he got to that spot,” he said.

“He showed a reflexive pattern of limited psychological awareness. A view of things that seemed overly optimistic given the reality and an overly positive impression I would not have expected.”

Burnett’s findings stated Furman is in need of moderate-intensity sex offender treatment and while at higher-than-average risk of breaching bail conditions again, he’s a lower risk for committing a crime of the same nature.

Yesterday the court heard the Crown’s case against Furman.

According to the Crown, Furman pursued a relationship with a student at Mount Boucherie Secondary School where he worked, which included at least nine acts of sexual intercourse and two instances of oral sex, occurring in both Furman’s classroom and home.

The Grade 12 student, who was 17 years old at the time, has not been identified.

The Crown is seeking a 71-month sentence, less 167 days for time served.

READ MORE: Sentencing date set for former West Kelowna teacher charged with child luring

READ MORE: Psych assessment ordered for former West Kelowna teacher charged with child luring

Grabavac told the court the relationship began when the girl was 17 and Furman was 28. They began speaking on social media during spring break in 2018. Topics of discussion included video games of mutual interest as well as Furman’s marital issues, to which the girl provided advice.

“This is not a Hallmark channel love story,” Grabavac said.

“It’s not two teenagers; it’s not two people on a level playing field.

“It was a calculated, deliberate attack for (Furman’s) own sexual gratification.”

Grabavac spent much of Monday vaguely poring through thousands of messages between the two, which he described as increasingly sexual as conversations progressed.

The Crown requested the sealing of details of the messages for the duration of the sentencing hearing. Grabavac, however, referenced messages in which Furman asked the girl for nude photos and other instances of sexting.

The relationship’s secrecy unravelled as Furman called the girl out of two classes on May 1, 2018. This prompted suspicion from Furman’s co-workers, who brought the matter to school administrators.

Upon watching security footage of the two walking “too close,” the school’s principal and vice-principal had conversations with Furman and the girl separately.

The girl told the principal of the messages and the eventual progression into a sexual relationship.

Furman was asked by school administrators to show the messages but he refused. According to the Crown, the school’s principal told Furman he would be fired if he destroyed the communications.

Grabavac said there is evidence he attempted to do precisely that.

Grabavac alleged following the conversations with the administration, Furman asked the girl to delete all correspondence and the associated accounts.

Investigators subsequently obtained 2,700 pages of messages, some of which point to the relationship continuing for another 13 months after the initial arrest in May 2018.

Since then, Furman has been arrested four times for breaching conditions of his bail, specifically for making contact with the girl and members of her family. Grabavac said Furman had lied 122 times about disobeying court orders.

The girl initially participated in the continuation of the relationship, admitting she thought his actions came from a place of love and even proposing to the courts in a Nov. 1, 2018 letter that contact should be allowed to be re-established.


@michaelrdrguez
michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com

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