Nova Scotia

RCMP charge Yarmouth-area principal with historical sexual assault

Mark Alexander Thornton, 51, of Yarmouth was arrested on July 26. He was charged with sexual exploitation and sexual assault.

Tri-County Regional Centre for Education employee on administrative leave pending investigation

An up-close picture of an RCMP shoulder patch.
RCMP in Yarmouth have charged a man with a historical sexual assault. (Jeorge Sadi/CBC)

RCMP in Yarmouth, N.S., have charged an elementary school principal with sexually assaulting a minor two decades ago. 

Police say last month they received a report of a sexual assault that occurred between the fall of 2001 and the summer of 2002, when the accuser would have been 14.

Mark Alexander Thornton, 51, of Yarmouth was arrested on July 26.

He was charged with sexual exploitation and sexual assault. He was released on conditions and is expected in Yarmouth provincial court on Oct. 11.

Thornton is an employee of the Tri-County Regional Centre for Education and has been placed on administrative leave. He is listed on a provincial website as the principal of Plymouth School, an elementary school 10 kilometres east of Yarmouth. 

Jared Purdy, the regional executive director for Tri-County, said the RCMP informed the centre of the charges.

"We are fully co-operating with the RCMP investigation but are unable to comment further on matters before the courts. Our priority continues to be the safety and well-being of students," Purdy said. 

"The school and the region will be communicating with families and staff in the coming days and we are focused on supporting students and staff at this time."

Yarmouth Town RCMP think there could be other victims who have yet to come forward. 

"Police want victims to know that they can contact them and discuss an incident before making a decision to further participate in the investigation and court process," police said in a news release.

Yarmouth Town RCMP can be contacted at 902-742-8777.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anjuli Patil

Reporter

Anjuli Patil is a reporter and occasional video journalist with CBC Nova Scotia's digital team.

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