Ski coach makes emotional apology

Sentencing hearing continues for Jason Paur in relation to child pornography charge

His voice quivering, barely above a whisper, and fighting back tears, Jason Christopher Paur looked directly at Vernon Provincial Court judge Mark Takahashi and apologized.

The 44-year-old former Seattle cross-country ski coach asked to speak before Takahashi at what was to be his sentencing hearing Tuesday, after Paur earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of secretly observing/recording nudity in a private place, and one count of possession of child pornography in connection with an incident at Silver Star Mountain Resort in December 2013.

“I am profoundly sorry for all the intense pain and suffering I have caused,” said Paur. “I take full responsibility for my actions. I am struggling to find words adequate to describe the regret I have…I am totally consumed by remorse for what I did.”

Court heard how Paur was the head cross-country ski coach for a private school that was on a five-day trip to Silver Star, arriving on Dec. 8, 2013. The group, which included nine girls aged 14 to 20, two boys aged 17 and 18 and two adult chaperones, were staying in a chalet.

Six of the girls shared a room as did the other three girls.

Three of the girls were in a bedroom when they discovered a video camera near a curtain, and it was recording.

The girls looked at the video and took their finding to a chaperone and to Paur, who immediately said he would return to Kelowna. He was driven there by a chaperone and it was in Kelowna that Paur was arrested.

The video camera’s SIM card had three videos, including two which showed Paur setting up the camera and leaving a bedroom shortly before a girl walks in.

In both cases, the girls were wearing only towels and disrobed.

Court heard victim impact statements from the girls and their families, how they felt betrayed by Paur, a man they trusted, a man they loved having as a coach and a man who served as a confidante.

Paur, a freelance journalist as well as a coach, gave the commencement address at the school in 2006.

Also read into record were character references for Paur, two of which had him with his head in his hands and tears welling up.

They were from his sister and his father, a man who died while Paur was in custody.

“I am so sorry to have put my family through this ordeal,” said Paur, who had no prior record in Canada or the U.S.

There was no evidence that suggested Paur planned to distribute any of the videos.

Crown counsel was seeking six-month sentences for each of the three counts, along with providing a DNA sample, having Paur added to the sex offender registry and ordered not to be within a couple of kilometres of areas in Canada where kids under the age of 18 could be, like schools, parks, arenas and daycare centres. Crown also called for an Internet ban for Paur.

Defence lawyer Richard Barton was in the unusual position of asking for a longer sentence in order that it add up to Paur’s time already served in custody.

Barton opposed the orders to keep Paur away from specific places and from using the Internet, saying the web is how he makes his income.

The sentencing hearing ran long and a new date for sentencing was to be fixed on Thursday.

Upon the end of his Canadian legal matters, Paur is to be sent back to the U.S. where he faces similar charges in the United States.