Man jailed for harassing students

Matthew D. Schneider pleaded guilty to two counts on Friday

Schneider has a history of criminal harassment.
Credit: 
Journal File photo

A man who harassed Queen’s students with racial slurs and sexually aggressive behaviour was jailed on Friday after pleading guilty to two counts.

Matthew D. Schneider, a 26-year-old local man, pleaded guilty in the Ontario Court of Justice last week to two counts of criminal harassment and a violation of probation.

Justice Larry O’Brien sentenced Schneider to 360 days in jail and three years of probation. Schneider was also ordered to complete assessments and counselling on racial diversity. He’s been barred from Kingston’s downtown core and areas around Queen’s.

Most recently, Schneider’s conduct included racist harassment of two Asian Queen’s students. 

On March 2, one of the victims left her apartment at Princess Street and Albert Street at 3:30 p.m. when she noticed Schneider on the sidewalk. The victim crossed the street and waited at a bus stop. Schneider followed the victim to the bus stop and stood nearby. 

The victim then noticed Schneider was taking photos of her on his cellphone. She tried to block his view with her hand and walked away. She later reported the incident to Kingston Police.

The next day, the victim and her roommate were walking home when they saw Schneider standing across the street taking photos of them with his cellphone.

The two women could see Schneider using the flash function on his cellphone as he took photos. The Crown prosecutor, Gerard Laarhuis, told Justice O’Brien that Schneider yelled to the two women, saying he was going to post the photos to Twitter and adult websites.

The two women informed Kingston Police of the incident and provided a description of Schneider. Based on his previous criminal history, Police were suspicious of Schneider’s involvement. 

Schneider had been involved with law enforcement in the past for targeting women of colour with aggressive racist and sexual language. 

When Police arrested Schneider and requested to look at his cellphone, he obliged. Police searched the phone and found several photos of young women.

Dan Scully, Schneider’s attorney, argued for a lesser sentence of nine months in custody, instead of 360 days. 

The Crown prosecutor argued Schneider harboured “clearly racist beliefs [that] he couples them with sexually aggressive words to young women.” 

“Deterrence and denunciation have to take a front seat,” he said.

During sentencing, Justice O’Brien said Schneider’s conduct was unacceptable.

“[It] needs to be denounced. You need to be deterred. Other like-minded individuals, and I hope there are none out there, need to be deterred,” he told Schneider. 

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