Nova Scotia

Kings County teacher charged with sex offences involving teen

A 39-year-old high school teacher in Nova Scotia's Kings County is facing sex charges involving a teenage girl that stem from a number of incidents over the course of years.

David Benjamin Harrison, 39, charged with sexual assault, luring a child and sexual exploitation

David Benjamin Harrison taught math at the Northeast Kings Education Centre in Canning, N.S. (Colleen Jones/CBC)

A 39-year-old high school teacher in Nova Scotia's Kings County is facing sex charges involving a teenage girl that stem from a number of incidents over the course of years.

Nova Scotia RCMP said Wednesday they were contacted by the alleged victim this past July. She was 16 years old when the incidents began in 2013. RCMP Cpl. Jennifer Clarke said the alleged abuse continued until this past summer.

David Benjamin Harrison, a math teacher at Northeast Kings Education Centre in Canning, was arrested Tuesday after police searched his Canaan home with a warrant. He has been charged with sexual assault, luring a child and sexual exploitation.

During the search, police seized a cellphone and were able to recover evidence that supported the victim's claims, said Clarke.

Teacher placed on leave

In a letter sent to parents, Northeast Kings principal Kevin Veinot said Harrison is now on leave. The letter did not specify whether it is paid or unpaid leave.

Veinot said the school doesn't have further details on the investigation but "all appropriate policies and procedures are being followed."

"Our primary concern is the safety and well-being of our students and we understand this situation may be difficult for the school community," he said in the letter.

Harrison is still listed on the school's website as a Grade 11 and 12 math teacher. 

Released on bail 

He appeared in Kentville provincial court Wednesday and was released on a $3,000 recognizance. 

The conditions of his release include staying away from the victim, whose name is protected by a publication ban, and having no contact with anyone under the age of 18 besides family members.

Harrison is scheduled to return to court on Dec. 18. 

In an email to CBC News, Annapolis Valley Regional Centre for Education acknowledged the nature of the charges are concerning and said the centre is co-operating fully with RCMP.

Charges 'troubling news,' says union 

Kristen Loyst, who handles communications for the centre, said it learned late Tuesday that RCMP were on the verge of charging a staff member. 

The centre learned the details of the charges Wednesday, after which Harrison was put on leave, she said. Loyst wouldn't say whether Harrison is on paid or unpaid leave, only that the process follows the collective agreement. 

NSTU president Paul Wozney was not available for an interview Wednesday. The union called the charges "troubling news" in a statement but said it would "be inappropriate for us to comment or speculate" on a case before the courts. 

Police are asking that anyone with information about these incidents contact Kings District RCMP at 902-679-5555 or anonymously via Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Veinot said the school's counselling staff are available to support students and he invited parents with concerns to call him.

With files from Paul Palmeter