Ashbury teachers waited to call parents after learning of sex assault

A new report released from the Ontario College of Teachers says two teachers from Ashbury College waited seven hours before calling the parents of a student who was sexually assaulted, and never made contact with Boston Police.

Ontario College of Teachers releases 238-page decision on finding of professional misconduct

A new report released from the Ontario College of Teachers says two teachers leading a school trip to Boston did not call police and waited seven hours to contact parents of a 16-year-old sexual assault victim, two reasons they were found guilty of professional misconduct earlier this year.

The 238-page decision from an Ontario College of Teachers' disciplinary panel was released late last week, almost five months after two teachers from Ashbury College, Ian Middleton and Alyssa Novick, were found guilty of professional misconduct.

The decision also found the victim's parents were the first to make contact with Boston Police, from Ottawa, about 20 hours after the incident took place on Nov. 16, 2007.

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

Two students pleaded guilty to assault and battery in a Massachusetts court connected to the incident. One was convicted as an adult and the other as a juvenile.

Guilty of not 'immediately' telling parents

Novick, who was the trip leader, and Middleton were found to have "failed to immediately notify the parents" of the student. 

Ashbury College, which first opened in 1891, is a private school in Ottawa's Rockcliffe neighbourhood, east of downtown. (CBC)
There was no evidence on three other accusations. The College did not find the teachers refused to report the sexual assault to police, falsely told parents the student didn't want to report the incident to police or discouraged the student from reporting the incident to police.

The College said the teachers "deferred their responsibility" to Tam Matthews, the school's headmaster at the time who was in Ottawa. He is not a certified teacher so he was not bound by the same standards.

"Members demonstrated poor judgment by failing to question the instructions of a School administrator who was not on the trip," the decision read.

'Lack of training' blamed for response

The decision also found Novick was "increasingly concerned about her own personal liability" and her testimony was not credible.

"[A] lack of training in itself was reason enough for the Members to have called the police, even before investigating the incident," the decision ultimately found.

Both teachers continue to work at Ashbury College but they could still lose their teaching licence. A decision on their punishment will be made at a later date.

Ashbury College's current headmaster, Norman Southward, has said the school is "both surprised and disappointed with the findings."

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 had launched a lawsuit against the school, Matthews and the four teachers leading the school trip. That case was settled last month but details could not be released.

Ashbury College is a private school that is co-ed for Grades 4 to 12. The school was founded in 1891 and sits in Ottawa's Rockcliffe neighbourhood, east of downtown.