Nova Scotia

No screening for Dartmouth coach facing sex charges

A Dartmouth, N.S., volleyball coach facing several sex-related charges involving a teenager was never screened at the high school where he was a volunteer.

A Dartmouth, N.S., volleyball coach facing several sex-related charges involving a teenager was never screened at the high school where he was a volunteer.

The charges against Joseph Emile "Luc" Potvin, 53, include sexual assault, production of child pornography and distribution of child pornography, all involving the same 17-year-old girl.

Potvin is a volleyball coach and referee for youth leagues in Dartmouth, perhaps best known for his work with the Metro Lakers Volleyball Club. He also coached the girls' volleyball team at Prince Andrew High School in Dartmouth from September to November last year.

According to Halifax Regional School Board policy, all volunteers have to undergo criminal background checks and have their names checked against the child abuse registry.

Doug Hadley, a spokesman with the Halifax Regional School Board, said those checks on Potvin never happened.

"The school had believed, based on his extensive community involvement in coaching and refereeing, that his background checks were up-to-date so they had believed that they were, in fact, completed," Hadley told CBC News.

"It's an expectation that it would be done. So they, in fact, didn't comply with the policy and the procedures."

Potvin has a prior conviction but has since been pardoned. CBC News was unable to get the details on that conviction from the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service.

In 1999, Potvin was charged with sexual assault, sexual exploitation and invitation to sexual touching. All the charges were dismissed later that year.

Hadley said the school board will be talking to principals in the next few days to reinforce that no matter how well-known a volunteer coach may be, a background check must be done.

The principal of Prince Andrew High School has spoken with all the girls on the volleyball team and is in the process of speaking to their parents, he said.

"At this point we have no reason to believe that there was any inappropriate behaviour toward any of the girls on the team, nor have the police given us any reason to believe that the charges are related to that," Hadley said.

Potvin also coached girls at École du Carrefour High School — operated by the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial — from 2007 to 2009.

He is expected to appear in Dartmouth provincial court on Wednesday for a bail hearing.

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