The 54-year-old former educational assistant was being sentenced in Truro provincial court Monday morning after changing a plea to guilty to a count of luring a child over the Internet with sexual intent.
Judge Warren Zimmer sentenced the Bible Hill resident to an 18-month conditional sentence, which means he will serve his custodial sentence in the community.
“I appreciate that shortly after the incident, Mr. Canton apologized to the victim through a phone call and a written letter,” Zimmer said during sentencing, in which two of Canton’s siblings sat behind him.
What appeared to be the victim and victim’s family sat on the other side of the courtroom.
“(The written apology) is often a strategy on the part of the police, but it doesn’t diminish the impact of the apology,” he said.
Both the Crown and defence attorneys submitted an 18-month conditional sentence, followed by 12 months of probation for the charge.
Upon sentencing, a charge of invitation to sexual touching was dismissed – the Crown offered no evidence.
During sentencing, Judge Zimmer learned that Canton had no prior criminal record. He also learned that Canton, who was working at Truro Junior High School at the time, was arrested in early January for the incident, which occurred through Facebook messages starting Dec. 29.
In the messages, Canton had asked the individual (whose identity is protected by a publication ban), “wanna (expletive).”
Crown attorney Laura Barrett said messages from Canton also said he wouldn’t tell anyone and that Canton thought he loved the individual.
Defence counsel Amber Snow didn’t dispute any of the facts presented, but said her client had accepted responsibility for his actions.
“He has shown remorse to all involved in the situation,” she said.
Barrett said Canton called the following day to apologize for what he had done on Facebook.
After talking with a friend, the victim reported the incident to police on Jan. 4. Canton was arrested two days later.
As part of the conditional sentence, Canton is on house arrest for six months and is to abide by a number of conditions. He has been ordered to submit a DNA sample and will be listed under the Sex Offender Information Registration Act for 10 years. Following his conditional sentence, Canton will be prohibited from attending any public place where children under the age of 16 are known to frequent or may reasonably be. The prohibition will be in place for five years. He's also not to have any contact with the victim.
Canton also pleaded guilty to a count of breaching an undertaking condition – not being in a public place where children under the age of 16 frequent or may reasonably be. He was given a one-month concurrent conditional sentence order. The probation order carries both charges.