November 14, 2014 9:20 am
Updated: November 14, 2014 3:55 pm

#YouKnowHerName highlights anger over handling of high-profile Halifax child porn case

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WATCH ABOVE:  A 20-year-old man at the centre of a prominent child pornography case in Halifax got a conditional discharge. Ross Lord has the story.

TORONTO – A young man we can’t name will get no jail time for taking photos of the sexual assault of a young woman. She is now dead, having attempted suicide after enduring months of torment from her peers (we can’t name them, either).

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The child pornography case that played out online and in a Halifax courtroom Thursday afternoon has ricocheted across the globe, not least because of the publication ban gagging the young woman’s family and advocates and infuriating those following her case.

READ MORE: Man given conditional discharge in prominent Halifax child porn case

On Twitter, they used the hashtag “#youknowhername” in place of victim’s name to protest the publication ban without breaking it (although several did, anyway).

The victim died after attempting suicide in 2013, sparking a national conversation about rape, online harassment and the way police respond to allegations of sexual assault.

The now-20-year-old defendant, who was also a minor at the time, received a conditional discharge.

The young woman’s name was widely reported until a hearing in April, when the Halifax judge hearing the case made an order banning her identification.

Halifax freelance journalist Hilary Beaumont started “#youknowhername” while reporting on the case; the hashtag was trending in Canada on Twitter for much of Thursday afternoon.

The victim in the case was 15 when she was  sexually assaulted by at least one, possibly several older teenage boys at a house party in 2011. A photo of the act was distributed widely throughout her high school community.

The young man sentenced Thursday pleaded guilty to making child pornography in youth court in September. He’s been ordered to attend a course on sexual harassment and write an apology to the victims’ family. Another young man, now 19, faces two charges of distributing child pornography and will go to trial on Nov. 24.

In a victim impact statement the girls’ father gave an emotional statement about watching his daughter descend into depression.

“I had to watch my promising, intelligent, full-of-life child turn into an empty ghost, her dreams turn to ashes, her laughter turn to anger and cries,” he said through tears. “This is not the way this had to end.”

Here’s the full statement:

“It would be impossible for me to sum up the impact this crime has had on my life and the life of my daughter, [redacted]. My life has been forever changed, and her life ended.

Every morning I wake up with the realization she is gone. I will never hear her voice again. She will never call me, spend the day with me, or watch a movie we both looked forward to seeing together.

I won’t see her graduate from university and enter a career she dreamed of since she was a child. [redacted] was my only child. I will never walk my daughter down the aisle at her wedding. I will never be a grandfather and enjoy the laughter of a grandchild.

The hole you left in my life is as big as the hole you left in hers. You took away her friends, her innocence, her dreams, her youth, and with the click of a camera you took away her will to live.

I had to watch my promising, intelligent, and full of life child turn into an empty ghost. Her dreams turned to ashes, her laughter turned to anger and cries. This is not the way this had to end.

It’s hard knowing that [redacted], being the kind of person she was, would have forgiven you if you had only said you were sorry. When she was alive to hear it – you could have made a difference, yet you remained silent even when you knew her life had turned into a nightmare by your actions. You did nothing when it would have mattered.

I fight everyday not to turn into a dark empty shell. I’m not able to work. Hobbies I had that were important to me are all long forgotten and sit on shelves in the basement. I suffer from depression and anxiety. I often fear being alone.

My sense of justice has been shattered and replaced with doubt, cynicism, and a lack of faith. [redacted] is not here today to tell you what your actions did to her, but based on what I saw, you damaged her beyond repair.

Every time I think of my daughter [redacted], I think of you and how what you did contributed to the end of her. I will live like this for the rest of my life.”

Here is some of social media reaction to Thursday’s sentencing:

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