Michael Herrera outside court in April 2013

Ex-student teacher who sexually assaulted Surrey student released from jail

Michael Herrera, an American citizen, may also face deportation to the U.S.

An ex-student teacher who sexually assaulted a 15-year-old Surrey student during a violent master/slave encounter has been granted statutory release from prison after serving two-thirds of his 26-month sentence.

Michael Herrera was sentenced to two years and two months in jail in April 2013 after pleading guilty to sexual assault the October prior.

During sentencing, the court heard that Herrera had developed a relationship with a vulnerable female student at a Surrey high school. Herrera, who was 24 at the time, was a UBC student completing his final practicum to become certified as a B.C. teacher.

The bond escalated to explicit text messages and emails and physical touching and then the pair planned a sexual master/slave hook-up at Herrera’s home in May 2010. It was then that things turned violent. Though she wanted to leave, he forced her to stay and had intercourse with her several times. He also hit the teen, bit her and demanded she do household chores, all while degrading her and calling her demeaning names.

The victim, who cannot be identified due to a publication ban, eventually told friends and parents and police were called. A subsequent examination revealed 29 injuries to various parts of her body.

A Sept. 4 decision of the Parole Board of Canada indicates that while in custody, Herrera has completed sex offender programs and has more insight into his crime. His risk of engaging in future sexual violence is rated moderate to low and he plans to live with close family members.

Statutory release is automatically granted to most offenders after they’ve served two-thirds of their sentence, unless it is recommended by the Correctional Service of Canada that they be detained longer.

The parole board, however, did impose special release conditions on Herrera. They include not having contact with the victim or any members of her family, not to be in the presence of any female under age 18 unless with a responsible adult who knows his criminal history and has been previously approved in writing by his parole supervisor. Herrera is also not allowed to participate in activities or have a job where he’d be in contact with females under 18 or that would place him in a position of trust or authority toward females under 18.

The parole board decision gave several reasons for the special release conditions, including his victim’s and her family’s right to feel safe and not have unwanted contact that could be traumatizing.

Keeping him away from anyone under 18, the board said, is aimed at reducing his risk of re-offending.

“Your index offence involved the grooming of and sexual offence against a fifteen year old female student. Restricting you from being in the presence of the same will mitigate the risk you pose to such persons,” the decision reads.

The restrictions remain in effect for the duration of Herrera’s sentence, which concludes in June 2015.

The parole documents also show Herrera is an American citizen and may face deportation. If deported, he must inform the Parole Board of Canada and Correctional Services if he plans to return to Canada.

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

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