British Columbia

B.C. school trustee shocked by teacher's child-porn arrest

A school trustee in New Westminster, B.C., said he was shocked upon hearing a former teacher in his district had been arrested in Turkey on charges of possessing child pornography.

A school trustee in New Westminster, B.C., says he's shocked thata former teacher in his district has beenarrested in Turkeyand chargedwith possessing child pornography.

James Janzen said Monday that Claude Fortin— arrested in Istanbul on Friday— had taughtJanzen's daughter.

"I only met him about three times at parent-teacher night, but Katie certainly thought he was a good teacher and she seemed to thrive in his classroom," said Janzen, who's with the New Westminster School District.

On Sunday, the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed Fortin's arrest.

Turkish authorities have alleged they found more than 12,000 movies and photographs, including hundreds of files showing children, on a computer atFortin's home in a posh Istanbul neighbourhood, according to the Turkish newspaper Hurrivet.

Taught French immersion

Fortin had been a French immersion teacherat École Glenbrook Middle School in New Westminster. In 2003,his fellow teachers nominated himfor the Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence. He did not win, but was afinalist for the national award.

New Westminster School board chair Michael Ewen said Fortintook leave from the district toaccept a two-yearteaching positionin Turkey, but Ewen added he didn't know if Fortin was still on file as a New Westminster teacher.

With regard to any investigations into possible misconduct in British Columbia, "we have lots of policy procedures and we'll follow them as we should and as we have in the past," Janzen said.

The Dogan news agency reported that Fortin wasas a foreign language teacher at ENKA, an exclusive private school in Istanbul.

The agency said officers took two computers, two removable hard disks, 144 CDs and 23 grams of marijuana from Fortin's house. Policeallege they found more than 12,000 images and photographs, of which 491 were child porn.

Under Turkish law, the penalty for possession of child pornography is a prison term of five to 10 years.

With files from the Canadian Press