Toronto teacher jailed 2 years for sex offences with students, but he still can't be named

A Toronto private school teacher is going to jail for two years after pleading guilty to sex-related offences involving two of his former students.

Court publication ban covers his identity and the name of the private school where he worked

A Toronto private school teacher was sentenced to two years in jail at hearing held Monday at the Finch Avenue courthouse in Toronto. (Aizick Grimman/CBC)

A Toronto private school teacher is going to jail for two years after pleading guilty to sex-related offences involving two of his former students. 

The teacher, who cannot be named because of a "rare" publication ban, was handcuffed in a Toronto courtroom on Monday, and appeared to mouth "Goodbye" to his wife and "I'm sorry" to the victim's families as he was escorted away.

In March, the 43-year-old teacher pleaded guilty to sexual interference, sexual exploitation and making child pornography.

He was also sentenced to three years of probation following the jail term. The Crown had asked for a three-year prison term. The defence argued for a 16-month sentence. 

Ontario Justice James Chaffe said the teacher "inflicted profound harm" on two female students by maintaining "predatory" sexual relationships that included kissing and fondling as well as sexual photos and videos.

Through "careful and skilful" manipulation, Chaffe said, the teacher was able to exploit the two young teenagers, leaving them "forever changed" with feelings of "shame and guilt."

One of the victims was in the courtroom on Monday.

In his decision, Chaffe said the man occupied a "special of position of trust" as the girls' teacher, coach and tutor.

"He abused this position, this position of power, and harmed them instead for his sexual gratification."

Publication ban challenged unsuccessfully

The name of the Toronto private school where the teacher worked is also covered by the publication ban, which was issued in a preliminary hearing in order to protect the identities of the victims.

CBC Toronto and the Globe and Mail unsuccessfully challenged the order in March, arguing that it was too broad and unnecessary to protect the identity of the girls.

Lisa Taylor, a former lawyer and broadcaster who teaches media law at Ryerson University, says journalists are perfectly capable of protecting the identities of victims of crime, and the ban goes too far.

"That should be a newsroom decision and an exercise in journalism ethics, not a legal restriction on reporting information," Taylor said in an interview.

She added that it's particularly problematic in this case because the teacher has been not only charged, but convicted and sentenced.

"Once someone is convicted, and pleaded guilty, that is a clear matter of public interest, especially in this type of crime when we have to wonder about what happens in the future and what kind of access he has to young people," Taylor said.

Victims were 14 and 16

According to an agreed statement of facts, the teacher exchanged increasingly flirtatious text messages with each of the students during relationships that occurred at different times.

In 2009, he was the teacher of one of the students and was hired by her parents as a tutor. The student attended weekly tutoring sessions at his home.

For several months, the teacher kissed and fondled the 14-year-old student during these visits.

In 2012, the second victim, who was 16, returned to the teacher's school for a co-op placement.

After sending flirtatious text messages, the teacher persuaded the student to send him sexual photos and videos.

The court heard that in 2013, when the student was 17, she visited the teacher's home, where he persuaded her to engage in sex acts.

After serving his jail term, the teacher will face restrictions on working, volunteering and interacting with children. He has two young children of his own.

About the Author

Trevor Dunn

Trevor Dunn is an award-winning journalist with CBC Toronto. Since 2008 he's covered a variety of topics, ranging from local and national politics to technology on the South American countryside. Trevor is interested in uncovering news: real estate, crime, corruption, art, sports. Reach out to him. Se habla español. trevor.dunn@cbc.ca