SURREY (NEWS1130) – Cheers erupted in a Surrey courtroom after a former TV news reporter was sentenced to four years in prison for sexual assault involving a minor.

Ron Bencze, 44, pleaded guilty late last month. His relationship with his victim began in 2003 when the child was in the third grade and continued for a span of around seven years.

The father of three has also been handed a 20 year ban from going anywhere near children and he’ll have to submit a DNA sample to the National Sex Offender Registry.

Bencze did receive credit for entering a guilty plea and the judge noted the stress this situation has placed on his family.

The Crown had recommended Bencze spend two to three years behind bars and that he be added to the sex offender registry. The defence was seeking a conditional sentence.

The judge said Bencze is a normal adult with a normal background who should have known better.

Neil MacKenzie with Crown council says two to three years is what they were originally after. He has spoken with the family of the victim.

“The family has chosen not to speak publicly about the case,” he explains. “They’ve indicated to Crown that they feel the focus today should be on Mr. Bencze and consequences that have been posed by the court, in particular the four year sentence.”

A psych assessment of Bencze concluded he felt the child was pursuing him and he didn’t realize what he was doing was wrong until he was caught.  

Chris Danielsen with the children’s safety group Put Kids First was at the sentencing. She says what’s ironic is that Bencze often interviewed her about child sex predators cases.

“It was taken seriously, and it was acknowledged and he’s going to pay for it, and we’re setting an example,” she says. “He might have gotten away with it in the past, but we’re not going to let you get away with it now.”

She says today has helped her restore some of her faith in the justice system because she feels quite often the punishment does not fit this type of crime.

Bencze is a former employee of News1130, but most recently worked at Global TV.