2 Ottawa teachers guilty of misconduct in Boston sex assault cover-up

The Ontario College of Teachers has found two Ottawa private school teachers guilty of professional misconduct for covering up the sexual assault of a student while on a 2007 field trip to Boston.

Ian Middleton, Alyssa Novick were supervising 2007 field trip with Ashbury College students

Ashbury College is a private school located in Ottawa's Rockcliffe neighbourhood.

Two Ottawa private school teachers have been found guilty of professional misconduct for covering up the sexual assault of a 16-year-old student during a school trip to Boston, Mass., seven years ago.

On Feb. 28 in Toronto, an Ontario College of Teachers disciplinary found Alyssa Novick, a history and geography teacher, and Ian Middleton, a history teacher and rugby coach, guilty of covering up the assault while supervising an Ashbury College school trip in November 2007.

Details of the verdict have not been released and a decision on the penalty for each hearing will follow.

The college had alleged Novick and Middleton "failed to immediately notify the parents" of the student who was sexually assaulted by his classmates while on the school trip.

It is also alleged the pair, who continue to work at Ashbury, refused to report the sexual assault to police.

Novick is also accused of falsely telling the parents the student did not want to report the incident to police and discouraging the student from reporting the sexual assault to police.

Ashbury 'surprised and disappointed' by ruling

Ashbury College's headmaster, Norman Southward, released a statement on Friday saying the school is "both surprised and disappointed with the findings."

The statement also said the teachers were found guilty on two issues, but "there were no grounds found on many original complaints." 

The school has defended its teachers throughout the legal process, saying they handled the incident in a professional manner, co-operating fully with police.​

The victim's family, meanwhile, has also pushed to have the teachers charged criminally, according to Peter Engelmann, a lawyer for the teachers, but to no avail. He has told CBC News the process has been "long and difficult" for the teachers.

In a Massachusetts court, one student pleaded guilty to charges of indecent assault and battery in connection with the incident.

The sexual assault involved three students pinning the victim to his bed, while another sexually assaulted him and a fifth allegedly videotaped the attack.

Victim's family suing Ashbury College

The assault also pushed the victim, who was only identified in court documents as J.W.1, and his parents to sue Novick, Middleton, two other teachers, three students, the school's headmaster and the school seeking $150,000 in damages.

They claim the school did not deal with the victim appropriately and responded out of self-interest by not contacting Boston police immediately.

Former Ashbury College Headmaster Tam Matthews defended his teachers throughout the case. (CBC)
That case, first launched in November 2009, is still ongoing. Ashbury, its headmaster and the teachers also filed a statement of defence in May 2010 seeking compensation of all legal costs from the three accused students.

None of the family's allegations in regards to the response to the incident have been proven.

All of the students accused were boys and they went to the private school, which is co-ed for Grades 4 to 12. The school was founded in 1891.

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Jamie Long

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Jamie Long is a reporter and editor for CBC Ottawa. He is also the social media editor and presenter for CBC Ottawa. You can tweet him @cbcjlong or reach him at