Former Nunavut teacher Johnny Meeko found guilty of dozens of sex crimes
Judge ruled Crown failed to prove allegations of rape inside a school furnace room
Former teacher Johnny Meeko has been found guilty of the majority of the 32 criminal charges against him — for allegedly sexually assaulting several school children in Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, between 1980 and 2007.
In the Nunavut Court of Justice Friday, Chief Justice Neil Sharkey convicted Meeko of 27 charges — including sexual assault, sexual touching and general assault.
He was found not guilty of more serious allegations of rape, forcible confinement and indecent assault.
Meeko had pleaded not guilty to all sex-related charges, which led to his judge-alone trial in August 2015.
From 'birthday spankings' to 'fake sex'
During the trial, the Crown painted Meeko as a liar and someone who preyed on his students for more than 30 years while he was a teacher at Nuiyak Elementary School in Sanikiluaq.
Eight women, and one man, came forward during the trial and testified against their former teacher.
Several of the women recounted stories of Meeko touching them inappropriately — one woman alleged he gave her "birthday spankings" and another alleged he performed what she called "fake sex" on her on a classroom carpet.
One woman alleged that Meeko would line up his female students by the chalkboard, and fondled their chests one by one.
A man had testified that Meeko, who was his Grade 3 teacher, would touch his buttocks and "squeeze" his nipples. The man said on one occasion, Meeko told him to close his eyes, then removed his pants and touched his penis.
Crown failed to prove rape, says judge
Of the nine people that came forward, the judge found the testimonies of eight of them to be true and proved in court.
However, the judge ruled Meeko was not guilty of allegations put forth by a woman in her 50s.
She testified that Meeko had raped her three times in the school furnace room when she was about 15 years old.
In his judgement, Sharkey said that he believed the Crown failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that these incidents had occurred.
Meeko has been out on bail since July 2013, living in Iqaluit.
Sharkey allowed Meeko, now in his 60s, to remain out on bail until his sentencing, which is expected to happen in February 2018.