Nova Scotia

Court records offer glimpse into life of former teacher facing 27 sex charges

Michael Patrick McNutt, 66, was charged last month with 27 offences relating to 13 alleged victims. The charges stem from the 1970s and 80s when McNutt worked as a teacher and volunteer coach in the Halifax area.

Michael Patrick McNutt, 66, said in 2013 that he'd been abused as a child and had suffered from alcoholism

Michael Patrick McNutt, a former Halifax-area teacher and sports coach, is shown leaving Dartmouth provincial court last month after being arraigned on multiple sex-related charges. (CBC)

A former Nova Scotia teacher facing a slew of historical sex charges says he was abused as a child and later struggled with alcoholism, according to 2013 court records that offer a glimpse into his background.

Michael Patrick McNutt, 66, was charged last month with 27 offences relating to 13 alleged victims. The charges stem from the 1970s and 1980s when McNutt worked as a teacher and volunteer hockey and baseball coach in the Halifax area.

But these are not McNutt's first encounters with the law.

In 2013, McNutt pleaded guilty and was sentenced to probation for committing an indecent act, a charge related to an incident from 30 years earlier.

In a pre-sentence report prepared in the case, McNutt confided to the probation officer conducting the interview that he had a prior conviction for a sex offence in 1994. McNutt told the officer he received three months probation and subsequently was granted a pardon, meaning there was no trace of the conviction.

McNutt is charged with 14 counts of gross indecency and 13 counts of indecent assault — the charges that were in effect in the Criminal Code at the time of the alleged offences. (Olivier Lefebvre/Radio-Canada)

In the report, McNutt also provided details of his life from childhood to the time he was charged. McNutt said he was shy and timid as a child with a father who was a strict disciplinarian.

McNutt claimed he was twice a victim of sexual abuse growing up. Once, when he was 14, he said he was abused by a "playground leader." A year later, McNutt told the probation officer, he was befriended by an older man who sexually abused him at Fort Needham Memorial Park in north-end Halifax.

McNutt worked as a math and science teacher with the Halifax Regional School Board, now known as the Halifax Regional Centre for Education, for four years. He left teaching in 1980 due to alcoholism, worked at a Wendy's, and then returned as a substitute teacher until 1994, when he was charged with his first offence.

He said he lived alone and described himself as "sexually conflicted." He said struggling with his sexuality caused him to do "stupid things," which resulted in the criminal charges.

Alcoholism

McNutt said both he and his father struggled with alcoholism and he heavily abused alcohol between 1976 and 1993. He said at his worst, he was consuming a 40-ounce bottle of liquor almost daily and it started to impact his work. McNutt said he was living in an "alcohol induced haze."

He said he "hit bottom" in 1993, around the time he committed one of his sex offences.

At the time of the pre-sentence report in 2013, McNutt claimed he had been sober for 19 years. In arguing against a prison sentence, McNutt told the probation officer he was responsible for looking after his father who required around-the-clock care.

After his teaching career ended, McNutt worked a series of jobs at fast-food restaurants and call centres. At the time the report was written, he said he was living on a disability pension because of high anxiety. 

To avoid the risk of reoffending, McNutt said he was avoiding alcohol and working around children.

McNutt returns to court later this month in relation to the 27 new charges.

He has also been named in at least six civil lawsuits in which men claim they were abused by McNutt when they were young boys and he was working as a teacher and hockey and baseball coach.

None of the latest allegations has been tested in court.

 

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