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Zolnierczyk ’11 sentenced to three years’ probation

Monday, July 21, 2008

Harrison Zolnierczyk ’11 was sentenced in a Canadian court last month to three years’ probation and a conditional discharge for his role in the production and distribution of a pornographic video involving an underage girl.

In 2006, Zolnierczyk and his former Canadian Junior A hockey teammate Bradley Harding surreptitiously videotaped a sexual encounter between Harding and his then-17-year-old girlfriend. He later posted that video on a popular media hosting Web site and showed it to friends and other teammates.

Zolniercyzk, who was released from the Brown hockey team in February but remained enrolled in the University through last semester, pleaded guilty in April to two counts of electronic voyeurism. He was sentenced in Port Alberni, British Columbia on June 6.

The terms of Zolnierczyk’s probation should allow him to return to Brown, according to Port Alberni Crown Counsel Gordon Baines, who prosecuted the case.

University officials confirmed that Zolnierczyk will return to Brown in the fall as a student, but could not say if he will be allowed to rejoin the hockey team.

University athletics administrators did not immediately return requests for comment.

“The incident happened before Harry was enrolled and was being handled through Canadian court system which means there was no involvement of university discipline,” Vice President for Public Affairs and University Relations Michael Chapman wrote in an e-mail to The Herald. “The conditional discharge means the court found no charges to pursue. We expect him to return this fall, and his conduct at Brown has raised no concerns.”

Zolnierczyk’s conditional discharge stipulates that the charges to which he pleaded guilty will be wiped from his record after he successfully completes his probation.

Baines said that the severity of Zolnierczyk’s sentencing was based on many factors, including the crimes themselves – which he said the judge described as “rather adolescent and disgusting” – and the fact that Zolnierczyk had lied to police about his criminal involvement after his arrest.

The sentencing hearing made public for the first time many of the details of the crime, in some cases revealing factual errors in several Canadian news sources’ coverage of the case.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation had incorrectly reported last month that Zolnierczyk had pleaded guilty to charges of child pornography. (The CBC has since issued a correction.) Those charges, resulting from the same incident, were dropped when Zolnierczyk and Harding agreed to enter guilty pleas on the voyeurism counts.

Several Canadian newspapers covering the case had also reported that the illicit video had been posted on YouTube. According to Baines, the only Web site on which the video was known to have been posted was, a media hosting Web site.

Zolnierczyk did not respond to requests for comment.

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