Leicester finalist allowed to stay on course after pleading guilty to sex crime

Sentenced to community service but still allowed to graduate

21 year old James Fenney, a former student of Leicester University, has been sentenced to 150 hours of community service after taking a photo of a female classmate whilst she was showering. 

The incident happened while on a uni trip to Scotland in 2014 . It was reported that Fenney entered the communal shower room and slid his phone underneath the wall of the cubicle the woman as showering in.

After noticing the mobile phone, she allegedly became very distressed, understandably mortified by the violation.

It was reported that Fenney deleted the photo immediately, denying having looked at it. And after initially claiming his innocence, he changed his plea to guilty.

He was sentenced to 150 hours unpaid work within eight months. He will remain on the Sex Offenders’ Register until the community service is completed.

Fenney’s lawyer Rory Gowans, said to the Leicester Mercury: “He is horrified at what he did and is deeply concerned about the effect on the woman. He is at a loss to explain what was going through his head.

“He was having difficulties towards the end of his studies but he is not using that as an excuse. He wishes he could turn back the clock and bitterly regrets it.”

The seriousness of the matter was disclosed by Sheriff Fleetwood, who said to Fenney: “This is an offence that could have attracted a period of imprisonment given the quite blatant conduct on your part.”

A university spokesman said to the Leicester Mercury: “This was an extremely distressing incident. The ongoing welfare of the student, who was a victim of this offence, is of paramount importance to us, and we have a robust framework for student support, including counselling, which is made available to all students who feel they require support.”

Earlier this week, Leicester University stood by its decision to kick medical student, Ravinda Thilakawardhana, off his course for retaliating to a similar violation. Another student posted revealing pictures of his friend on Facebook. Apparently Thilakawardhana’s retaliation rendered him “unfit to practice medicine”.

Although Rory Gowans stated that Leicester university had disciplined the student following his sentence, Fenney was still allowed to continue and complete his course even after pleading guilty of a violation of the Sexual Offences Act. He has since graduated.