A former Canadian Olympian turned teacher has lost his teaching licence for two years after he admitted to engaging in an inappropriate email relationship with a female student over the course of four months.
The Ontario College of Teachers found Lawrence Keyte, 49, guilty of professional misconduct on Feb. 27 at a disciplinary hearing in Toronto.
Keyte, a high school teacher in Ottawa, admitted to exchanging emails with the student, which included multiple emails once or twice a month between October 2007 and January 2008.
He agreed to a statement of uncontested facts that said he received multiple photos from the student, including one of her kissing another girl and a photo of the student in the bathtub "covered with bubbles."
Keyte did not discourage the student from sending the photos, the agreement also stated.
'As fun as it was, it was crazy of me to be flirting with a student and to put your sense of ease at school in jeopardy … I take total responsibility for it all." —Lawrence Keyte's email apology
The student's boyfriend found the email exchange and reported it to the school's vice-principal, Keyte admitted.
But Keyte created a separate private email account, outside of his Ottawa-Carleton District School Board email, to continue the exchange.
Keyte's teaching licence was suspended for two years, which is the maximum suspension allowed. He must also take a course on violating student-teacher boundaries at his own expense.
Teacher apologized to student, who dropped out
Keyte quit his job as a public high school teacher in October 2011 but he intends to continue teaching, according to the college's decision.
Keyte's teaching career has included time at the Richard Pfaff Secondary Alternate Program in Ottawa.
The female student dropped out of school in April 2008 for "unrelated reasons" and has not graduated, the decision also stated.
One year later, Keyte apologized to her via email "for any role his actions might have played in her decision to quit school."
"As fun as it was, it was crazy of me to be flirting with a student and to put your sense of ease at school in jeopardy and to put everything I have at risk," Keyte told the student in an email, which was part of the college's decision.
"I take total responsibility for it all."
Keyte's lawyer could not be immediately reached for comment.
Pentathlete in 1988 Seoul Olympics
Keyte competed for Canada at the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, placing 33rd in the modern pentathlon. He was also the Canadian champion in the sport in 1986 and 1991.
Keyte is now studying for a master's degree in sustainability studies at Trent University in Peterborough, Ont. He is also listed as working as an environmental consultant and clean energy consultant on his LinkedIn profile.
His current online profiles don’t include any reference to his teaching career but a public school board spokesperson confirmed the teacher competed in the Olympics in 1988.
Keyte first obtained his teaching certificate 10 years after his Olympic appearance and one year after he graduated from Queen's University with bachelor degrees in science and education.
Criminal charges were laid against Keyte in June 2010 after he was arrested at his Wakefield, Que., home. But those charges, which followed a police investigation into the exchange of e-mails and digital photos, were stayed nine months later.
Charges are stayed when the Crown chooses to stop the prosecution but they can bring the charges back with more evidence or further charges. That did not happen in Keyte's case.