A Toronto elementary school teacher has been charged with 42 different sex-related charges, some involving students, police say.
Police say Christian Kpodjie, 53, a teacher at Inglewood Heights Public School, near Sheppard Avenue and Kennedy Road, turned himself in this morning.
"It's alleged that between September of 2012 and March of 2013 several students reported being sexually assaulted, [or] having comments made to them," said Const. Wendy Drummond of the Toronto police.
As many as 30 students at the school say they were sexually assaulted or exploited, reported the CBC's Aarti Pole.
"We have the crisis response team at the school today, and they will continue to be there as long as needed to support the students and the staff," David Johnston, with the Toronto District School Board, said Thursday at a news conference.
The accused has been charged with 16 counts of sexual assault, 12 counts of sexual exploitation and 14 counts of assault, police say.
He appeared in court Wednesday morning.
Teacher worked at 5 schools since 2007
Kpodjie taught core French at Inglewood to students in Grades 4 to 6, and has been teaching with the school board since 2007.
Grant Bowers, a lawyer with the TDSB, confirmed that the accused is at home, suspended with pay.
Officials from the TDSB confirmed Thursday at a news conference that within the past few years the accused has worked at several other Toronto schools, including:
- Humberwood Downs Junior Middle Academy
- Derrydowns Public School
- Chester Le Junior Public School
- Gateway Public School
The school board did not say why he left each school.
He is certified by the Ontario College of Teachers, but he first received his teaching certificate in Ghana.
Bowers said that all teachers with the board go through a process to acquire certification.
"It's called a vulnerable check, which goes into any allegations of a criminal nature that have been made against them," he said. "Obviously, international records are not complete as Canadian records, but there are some."
The TDSB sent home a note with students on Wednesday, saying "pending outcome of this matter a supply teacher has been retained" while the accused remains on suspension.
The school plans to have its own meeting with parents on Tuesday, to review procedures and respond to any questions they may have.
"The primary purpose of that meeting is to reassure parents that we are giving their children support and giving them ways that they can support them at home," said Bowers.