Former CTV weatherman J.J. Clarke faces harassment charges

Former CTV Ottawa weatherman J.J. Clarke faces seven charges of criminal harassment related to three complainants.

Retired television personality was arrested Jan. 28

Retired CTV weatherman J.J. Clarke, 66, faces seven charges of criminal harassment. (Facebook)

Former CTV Ottawa weatherman J.J. Clarke is facing seven charges of criminal harassment related to three complainants.

Clarke, 66, was arrested Jan. 28 and taken to the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre the following day. The charges include allegations he stalked, threatened and harassed an Ottawa Valley woman.

None of the allegations has been proven in court.

A publication ban has been ordered on the identities of two women and one man, as well as a witness.

Clarke's identity was put under an interim publication ban on Jan. 31, but the ban was lifted March 23 after CBC, CTV and Postmedia contested it.

"J.J. Clarke has been a pillar of the Ottawa community for decades. It's clear from the nature and the content of the charges that he was not the same person that Ottawa has known and loved," his lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, told CBC.

A longtime television personality in Ottawa, Clarke, whose legal name is Ron Rowat, was hired by CTV affiliate CJOH in 1985.

Following a leave of several months to deal with health issues related to liver disease, Clarke retired last May after 34 years at the station. 

Greenspon said Clarke's behaviour is linked to his health condition.

"That, I think, is really at the heart of what has been his conduct, his behaviour, over the last brief period of time."

Park in Kanata named after Clarke

Clarke supported a variety of charities in Ottawa and was a regular fixture as an MC at community events. 

He participated in annual telethons for CHEO and the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. He also raised money for The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, and was an honorary chairman of the Foundation for the Children's Treatment Centre. 

In 2019, the City of Ottawa named a park in Kanata after Clarke.

His recent Facebook posts documented many trips from the Barry's Bay area, where he lives, to Burlington, where he has family.

Clarke was granted bail on Feb. 3 with restrictions on communicating with people involved in his case who cannot be named because of the publication ban.

The conditions of his release also include that:

  • He surrender his telecommunication devices.
  • Not use such devices without the supervision of his surety.
  • Not access or use social media, weapons or non-prescription drugs.

With files from CBC's Kimberley Molina