Former B.C. Lions defensive back Steven Clarke has been sentenced to 21 months in prison after pleading guilty to sexually exploiting a teenage student while working at a North Vancouver high school, according to a report from Richmond News.
The 31-year-old will be subject to three years of probation following his release and will be listed on the Sex Offender Registry for 10 years. He is prohibited from contacting the victim or her family and cannot be in communication with or in the presence of any female persons who appear under the age of 18 for the duration of his sentence.
The minimum sentence for sexual exploitation under the Criminal Code is 90 days and the maximum sentence is two years. According to Richmond provincial court judge Derek Mah, Clarke received a punishment at the highest end of the sentencing range due to aggravating factors that included the victim’s age, his position of authority within the school, the substantial impact on the victim and her family, and the high level of sexual interference.
Both the name of the victim and the school in question are protected by a publication ban.
Clarke met the victim in 2021 and began a relationship in early 2022. Text message records show that he requested approximately 50 intimate photos over that span, some of which constituted child pornography. He responded with explicit images and a video.
The court also heard that the pair engaged in sexual touching at school and that Clarke would drive the victim to his Richmond apartment to engage in intercourse. On one occasion, he delivered an emergency contraceptive to her at school following a pregnancy scare.
Clarke did not have a pre-existing criminal record and is currently attending counselling. The court received 15 letters of support speaking to his character, which were taken into consideration during sentencing. Sexual abuse suffered when he was 11 years old was also considered as a mitigating factor.
The native of Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. attended Vanderbilt University and originally signed with the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted free agent in 2014. He joined the B.C. Lions the following year and spent four seasons with team, interrupted only by a brief stint with the Tennessee Titans.
In 25 career CFL games, he amassed 73 defensive tackles, 14 special teams tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, and an interception.