Former Ottawa teacher handed 2 years for sex crimes dating back decades

A former Ottawa music teacher has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for sex-related crimes against students at two Ottawa high schools between 1973 and 1992.

Bob Clarke taught music at Bell High School, Sir Robert Borden High School

Former music teacher Bob Clarke has been sentenced to two years in prison for sexually exploiting students at two Ottawa high schools. (Deborah MacAskill /CBC )

Update: After this article was posted, the judge lifted the publication ban on the identity of the victim in this story. The victim quoted in this story is Peter Hamer.


A former Ottawa music teacher has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for sex-related crimes against students at two Ottawa high schools between 1973 and 1992.

Robert "Bob" Clarke, now in his 70s, pleaded guilty Wednesday to eight charges involving eight victims. He will also serve three years of probation.

Clarke was the music teacher at Bell High School for several years, and also taught at Sir Robert Borden High School.

Clarke pleaded guilty to charges of sexual assault and gross indecency. Three of the original charges against Clarke, including sexual exploitation charges, were dropped in a plea deal.

'It's not enough time'

A 50-year-old man who was sexually assaulted by Clarke when he was a student at Bell High School in the late 1980s presented the court with his victim impact statement on Wednesday, and also spoke to CBC.

The man can't be named due to a publication ban.

"I'm glad this is over. This has been a long, long process. It's been a difficult process. I'm happy he's being sentenced to at least two years because it's federal time," he said.

"But it's not enough time for the 30-plus years that I've had this stuck in my head. It's not enough time." 

He expects Clarke will serve about eight months in federal prison before he's released.

"The most important thing for me is it's not my secret. It's now public and it's not my responsibility to keep his secret any more, and I did for so many years. So many of us have kept the secret and now that heavy weight that was on my shoulders is on his shoulders."